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‘He ended up going for £16m’… Agent explains how he stopped Man United landing £4m bargain

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Jerome Anderson, the man famed for kick-starting the foreign influx in the Premier League, was probably a little relieved when hearing that Simon Jordan would not be present in the studio for his visit to talkSPORT towers on Thursday.

The former Crystal Palace chairman has never made any attempt to hide his disdain for Anderson and his ilk, after all. An opinion many Manchester United fans presumably share, with the late Mino Raiola one who comes to mind when considering the Red Devils’ recent struggles with agents.

You won’t find many in the Blackburn boardroom criticising Anderson, however. Not after the man who helped bring Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars to Arsenal in the 1990s enabled Rovers to make what he describes as an ‘enormous amount of profit’ during the traumatic early days of the Venkys ownership at Ewood Park.

Phil Jones, Anderson explains, could have joined Man United for a damn sight less than the £16 million Sir Alex Ferguson’s side eventually splashed out during the summer of 2011.

Manchester United v Brentford - Premier League

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Manchester United paid £16 million for Blackburn’s Phil Jones

“For various reasons, the then-board really didn’t get on well with the owners. They’d run out of money. Then, you had new owners who wanted to do things slightly differently,” Anderson recalls (talkSPORT, 4 April, 12.20pm)

“And I remember being away with my family getting a phone call from Mr (Jitendra) Desai (of the Venkys) who said; ‘Listen Jerome, we really need your help. We’ve got a situation where the board are not getting on well with the owners, the manager is not getting on well with the board. Can you help’?

“I was asked to go and help the manager, who was one of my clients at the time, and basically – for a four-week period – we were able to get the players and their agents into the manager’s office and ultimately get all the players who wanted to leave at the time (to stay). 

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“They all re-signed in that window, extended their contracts, so the club retained the assets.”

According to the Lancashire Telegraph, Blackburn were willing to make a 19-year-old Jones their best-paid player in order to see off interest.

The talented teenager already had his heart set on joining Man United at the time, however, eventually getting his dream move despite late interest from Arsenal and Tottenham. 

  • READ MORE: Inside the life of Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson

Jones was released by Man United last summer

“In the summer of that year, instead of Phil Jones going to Man United for £4 million, he ended up going for £16 million,” Anderson adds.

“In the summer of that year, when the owners decided to cash in on those players and thanks to the work that was done in the January of that year, the club made an enormous amount of profit on the back of the club that we did.” 

Jones, like Danny Welbeck, Chris Smalling and Tom Cleverley, would never go on to fulfil his potential at Old Trafford, injuries and inconsistency both on and off the pitch ensuring that a man famously tipped by Ferguson to become a Man United legend would rapidly become a dust-gathering reminder of happier times. He made only six Premier League appearances in his final four seasons with the Red Devils.

Still only 32, Jones has not yet officially announced his retirement but appears to be planning for the next chapter in his career while helping to coach Man United’s youth sides at Carrington. 

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