Blackburn allow Phil Jones to follow his United dream

Blackburn Rovers have stepped aside to allow Phil Jones to "follow his dream" of joining Manchester United.

Although Rovers have claimed Jones' switch to Old Trafford could eventually break their transfer record, United have not gone beyond the initial 16.5million offer that triggered a buy-out clause in the teenager's contract last week.

Even as Blackburn owners Venky's were refusing to sanction the deal when it was first put together last Wednesday and were fielding renewed interest from Liverpool over the weekend, Sir Alex Ferguson was secure in the knowledge Jones was not interested in going anywhere else. So, once Jones' contribution to England's draw with Spain in their opening European Under-21 Championship group game was out of the way on Sunday night, further contact with Blackburn was made to assure the club any attempt at prolonging the transfer was futile.

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The central defender will formally sign a five-year contract once he returns from Denmark.

"Much as we would love him to stay on with us - and we made all efforts to convince him to stay - Phil has to finally follow his heart," said a statement on behalf of the Rovers' owners, directors and manager, released on the club website. Blackburn manager Steve Kean confirmed those efforts included offering to make Jones the highest-paid player in the club's history. "The offer we made was staggering for a 19-year-old, but it wasn't the money," said Kean. "Phil wants to play Champions League football now and we're not at that level.

"I'm sure we will be in the coming years, and we gave it a real good try and made him a fantastic offer, but I understand why he wants to go now. He goes with our blessing and it's an opportunity for us to invest in other young players across other areas of the pitch. We were hoping he was going to be captain of our club and captain of England.He's a fantastic prospect and I'm sure he'll be an England regular very soon."

It represents a smart piece of business for Ferguson, who knew the 19-year-old was also coveted by Arsenal, and secures another important piece in a developing United team that now contains four of England's starting line-up on Sunday night. In addition, the Old Trafford chief is hoping to complete the signing of Spain goalkeeper David De Gea, who produced an excellent performance in Herning. It is also widely assumed Ashley Young's much-discussed switch from Aston Villa will be completed once the Midlands outfit have sorted out their managerial situation.

Meanwhile, Bebe, is in talks with Turkish club Besiktas about a loan move. Ferguson broke the habit of a lifetime by snapping Bebe up despite never actually seeing him play. The transfer has not really worked out, with the 20-year-old making only seven appearances, scoring two goals.