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Keeping Up With The Jones

Manchester United have signed young centre back Phil Jones from Blackburn Rovers for £16.5million on a £40,000 a week five-year deal.

Jones was stolen by Alex Ferguson from under the nose of rival boss Kenny Dalglish, something the Liverpool boss won’t be too happy about.

The 19-year-old was with Rovers since 2002 and was handed his Premier League debut last season in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea. Jones’ contract was supposed to keep him at Blackburn until 2016 but a clause allowed him to move if the price was right, and the price was definitely right.

Many will look at the supposed price United are paying for the youngster and rightly wonder why it is warranted. £16.5 million for any young and relatively unproved centre back is a hefty price tag. Granted Jones had a good season last year. He made 28 appearances despite a knee injury keeping him out for five months at one point in the campaign.

Sam Allardyce, the man who handed Jones his debut, said: “His mental strength and the abilities to cope with the pressure of the Premier League at such a young age stood out. He wasn’t fazed, didn’t look too nervous and was quite calm.

“That is very important going into the biggest league in the world at such a young age. His mental strength was always going to be good enough and that is one of the biggest factors if you are going to be a top, top player.

“I think eventually, with a little more experience, which is going to gain more quickly at Manchester United; he will ultimately become an England defender.”

United striker Wayne Rooney took to his twitter to praise the player saying, “He’s one of the toughest defenders I played against last season.” Very high praise indeed.

There is no doubting the centre back’s potential, he can definitely be a great player and be part of a very solid defence at United along with Chris Smalling and Fabio. However, he still seems a bit overpriced.

Then again this seems to be a reoccurring theme with English players, £35 million for Andy Carroll and £20 million for Jordan Henderson are recent examples. And when you look at the bigger picture the whole football market seems to be heavily inflated with some ludicrous sums being paid for players.

So maybe £16.5 million isn’t as bad as it first looks, especially when nobody seems to have a bad word to say about the player and his performance levels are there for all to see.

James Haggis

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