Manchester United swoop late to beat Liverpool to Blackburn star

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It may be your average June summer day, but the Premier League continues to flex its wealthy muscles with a proposed £40m spent on three players in three days.

Through no fault of his own, Jordan Henderson’s reported £20m switch to Liverpool is a ludicrous amount of money but the Liverpool fans will be buoyed in the knowledge Manchester United are preparing to splash out £16m for a fourth-choice centre-back.

Sir Alex Ferguson is a keen admirer of Phil Jones but Blackburn Rovers fans will feel they have negotiated the better part of the deal with Jones having to battle Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans for a starting spot.

Eyebrows were raised when Ferguson paid a reported £10m for Fulham’s Chris Smalling in January 2010, and while Smalling has slotted in comfortably as back-up for Ferdinand and Vidic, Jones will have to be content playing back-up to all three.

Smalling and Jones will be the first choice centre-back pairing for England at this summer’s under-21 European Championships and there’s no doubt Ferguson is looking to the future, but £16m still seems a bit steep considering Barcelona took a 21-year-old Gerard Pique off Manchester United’s hands for £5m in 2008.

The 19-year-old Jones has plenty to learn but has time on his side and at Manchester United, he would have the best possible facilities in which to develop his game.

Manchester United were the outright favourites to land the 2011/12 Premier League title but solid support for Manchester City sees Ferguson’s side share favouritism with Chelsea at 2/1 and Roberto Mancini’s side are available at 4/1.

The early signs suggest we’re in for a summer of big spending and Manchester City will be at the forefront of all the transfer speculation, but moves from Liverpool and Manchester United already suggest they mean business.

This summer will have a huge affect on the 2011/12 Premier League odds and next season is already shaping up to be a classic.

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