Rovers joy as ambitious Ince snaps up Banton

Paul Ince has pulled off a transfer coup by persuading Arsenal's highly-rated teenage striker Jason Banton to sign for Blackburn ahead of Manchester City.

The 15-year-old England youth forward, frustrated that he was not making progress at the Emirates, aims to follow in the footsteps of winger David Bentley, who quit Arsenal for Ewood Park and went on to play for England. Ince is also chasing Liverpool striker Nathan Eccleston.

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Jason Banton

Rovers bound: Jason Banton

Managing director Tom Finn said: 'We are delighted to have Jason here. He's a young England international playing a year above his own age group.'

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All smiles: Blackburn boss Paul Ince has signed Arsenal's much-lauded teenage striker Jason Banton

Meanwhile, Roque Santa Cruz has left the door open for a January move by his former boss Mark Hughes after the Rovers striker said he was impressed by Manchester City's £34million capture of Brazil star Robinho.

Santa Cruz, who signed a four-year deal this summer in a show of loyalty to Blackburn, told a Paraguay radio station: 'I am very happy at Blackburn but I like the idea of playing for a team who will be fighting for important objectives and if the coach of Manchester City is interested in me, I would like to join Robinho in that team.'