Blackburn were prepared to make Phil Jones the highest player in Rovers history but the prospect of Champions League football with Manchester United was enough to see the 19 year old move to Old Trafford for £16.5m. Jones will formally sign a five-year contract once he returns from Denmark and the European Under-21 Championship with England.
"Much as we would love him to stay on with us - and we made all efforts to convince him to stay - Phil has to finally follow his heart," said a statement on behalf of the Rovers' owners, directors and manager, released on the club website.
"The offer we made he was staggering for a 19-year-old, but it wasn't the money," Rovers boss Steve Kean told Sky Sports News. "Phil wants to play Champions League football now and we're not at that level.
"I'm sure we will be in the coming years, and we gave it a real good try and made him a fantastic offer, but I understand why he wants to go now. He goes with our blessing and it's an opportunity for us to invest in other young players across other areas of the pitch.
"We were hoping he was going to be captain of our club and captain of England, he's a fantastic prospect and I'm sure he'll be an England regular very soon."