- Arsenal News
- News Archive
- League Table
- Premier League News
Big Sam keen to keep Jones at Ewood
Published : 02 May 2010 13:57:00
Sam Allardyce has warned the vultures hovering over Blackburn's Phil Jones that it will take an eye-watering offer for him to consider selling. Monday's opponents Arsenal are understood to be one of the many clubs keeping an eye on the 18-year-old centre-back who has made a real impact on the Premier League this season. A product of the club's youth academy, Jones was thrown in at the deep end for his league debut, but emerged as man of the match in a superb 1-1 draw with Chelsea just six weeks ago. Since then Jones has not looked back, becoming a regular in Rovers' last six games, and attracting the attention of a number of scouts. Although money talks, Allardyce is confident Jones will still be at Ewood Park come the start of next season. If not, then a figure far in excess of the £10million Manchester United paid Fulham for another England star of the future in Chris Smalling is likely to be the going rate. "When you look at Chris Smalling's situation, he plays four (league) games and he is sold for £10million," said Allardyce, whose side host Arsenal tomorrow. "That's how quickly things happen when a new player emerges on the scene like him and Phil Jones. They create a stir in the world of football. "When they play consistently well then it's bound to attract some of the big boys. "I do fear a big club will come and take him, and it doesn't matter he is currently on a longish-term contract because if they offer enough money we would have to sell him. It's as simple as that. "But the money would have to be rather large, to say the least, so I'm very confident he'll be here (next season). "I don't see a club stumping up the sort of money that would be in my mind to even consider letting him go." Crucially for Allardyce, he hopes Jones is being given the right advice as he appreciates how an unscrupulous agent could have a detrimental effect. "You're always going to get speculation when a young lad emerges who has been so impressive as he has been over the seven (league) games he has played so far," added Allardyce. "You're not surprised when it starts, so he has to make sure he doesn't read it, and we also hope he has a sensible agent. "They can be the mischievous ones in this situation when they start calling other clubs and doing background work. "Then they tell the player this club wants him, or that club wants him, and it turns his head. That happens many times, and it's the last thing we want." Another of Allardyce's burgeoning crop is midfielder Steven Nzonzi who was plucked from relative obscurity just under a year ago from Amiens following their relegation into France's third tier. Unsurprisingly, Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has been linked with his fellow Frenchman, who is only 21. But like Jones, Allardyce concedes any offer for Nzonzi is going to have to be "huge" to tempt him, although is again wary of paper talk distracting such a young player. "I took a chance with Steven many clubs would not have done," said Allardyce. "When he arrived everybody said 'who is he?' and 'how is he going to be able to play in the Premier League?' But he has done. "What we want to do is develop him further because there are still a lot of rough edges to him, which need knocking off, even though he's had a great season, no doubt about that. "He needs fine tuning and turning into a better player than he is now, so my concern is that he keeps his feet firmly on the ground. "If speculation surfaces that links him with other clubs it could create a problem. "He could start getting carried away with himself when here is his best place to develop over the next two or three years, the same as Phil Jones." Chris Samba, Brett Emerton, El Hadji Diouf and Vince Grella all come back into contention for the visit of Arsenal after missing last weekend's 1-1 draw at Wolves through injuries and illnesses.