Blackburn Rovers defender Phil Jones having medical ahead of £16m move to Manchester United

Highly rated 19-year-old is in Manchester ahead of move to Old Trafford as the Red Devils capture the youngster under the noses of fierce rivals Liverpool

By Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent

Blackburn Rovers star Phil Jones is having a medical at Manchester United ahead of a £16 million move to Old Trafford, can confirm.

The highly rated defender is expected to sign a five-year contract after Sir Alex Ferguson made a last ditch swoop to steal him from under Liverpool's noses.

Jones, 19, had looked close to a switch to Anfield on Wednesday morning and some bookmakers suspended betting on him joining Liverpool as reports claimed he was having a medical on Merseyside.

But Ferguson has been tracking the England under-21 international closely over the last 18 months and made his move after learning that Liverpool had met the £16m clause in his Blackburn contract.

Jones, who can also play as a defensive midfielder, is unlikely to play as much at Old Trafford as he might have done for Liverpool, but the lure of playing for the Premier League champions proved too difficult to turn down. He will compete for a starting spot with centre-backs Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans.

Jones, who has also been a target for Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham, made 26 league appearances for Blackburn last season and has been a key player since making his debut in March 2010.

Ferguson, armed with a £50m summer transfer kitty, has been looking for a young central defender and 18-year-old Lens star Raphael Varane was reported as a target.

The Scot is understood to have been ready to wait for Jones to develop for one more season at Ewood Park but his hand was forced as Liverpool edged closer to a deal on Wednesday.

Jones, a wholehearted defender who is dominant in the air, has been tipped by many to become the long-term successor to England captain John Terry.

He was supposed to fly out to Denmark on Wednesday for the European under-21 Championships but will now join the rest of the England squad later in the week. 

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