Date:8th June 2011 at 3:13pm
Written by:

Phil Jones, Blackburn Rovers

Is the England under 21 defender already a United player?

Reports are claiming that as I write this Blackburn Rovers defender Phil Jones is undergoing a medical at Manchester United.

Jones, who is just 19, has had an impressive season for the Rovers playing a large chunk of their games, looking solid at the back. A notable season has seen him attract interest from a number of Premiership clubs with Arsenal and Liverpool thought to be looking to add him to their back lines. It has also become apparent today that rumoured United target Henderson is likely to join Liverpool. However it now appears that the Red Devils have acted fast and out of the blue to snatch England Under-21 international Jones from the clutches of their Merseyside rivals.

What will this probable transfer mean for United? When hit with injuries Ferguson’s back four has sometimes looked a bit stretched, shaky and uncomfortable. If the usually rock-solid duo of Ferdinand and Vidic are ever absent this is when the jittery defence becomes noticeable.

Chris Smalling has had a strong first season and is proving that another of SAF’s questionable signings is paying off. Whilst he has been impressive he has not yet gained the experience to organise the back line, nor has he quite established the on-field presence of Vidic and Ferdinand.

Jonny Evans has been one of the more susceptible individuals to the shaky defence syndrome. He appeared to be developing well during the 09/10 season, however last season his performances took a bit of a dip and he did not always look too confident at the back. A few slip-ups saw Smalling surpass him as third choice centre back.  However Evans has still shown he has the potential to be a solid defender in the future and maybe a loan outing next season, seeing him get week-in week-out first team football, will do him good. This signing of Jones may allow Evans to go out on loan whilst more room is made as aging legs grow older.

It is no secret Ferdinand does not have too many seasons left in him as an every week first team starter. 32 year old Ferdinand has regularly suffered injuries preventing him from playing as much as United fans would like and has needed frequent cover in the form of Smalling. With Phil Jones only being 19, and Ferguson apparently building for the future this may be a signing intended as Ferdinand’s future replacement with the opportunity for him to step in as cover.

Jones is also capable of playing a defensive midfield role, something which may be useful to United’s squad. Whilst it is possible he would step into this role whilst breaking through it is unlikely Ferguson would spend the reported money on a player to attempt to try and change his position.

Wes Brown is looking like a likely departure from United with him struggling for games and fitness last season. This exit would see more room made for a younger defender, such as Jones, in the squad.

At the age of 19, Jones would also not take up space in the Premier League squad registration as the rules allow for unlimited amount of players under the age of 21.

It appears this deal is a certainty and the only details left are the nitty gritty particulars. One possibility of the deal is striker Mame Biram Diouf, who was on loan at Blackburn last season, could go the other way.

Exciting prospect Jones looks to be starting Ferguson’s summer buying as he looks to revamp his United squad and build for the future.

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