Premier League – United sign £17m Serbian pair

Manchester United have completed the signings of Serbian duo Zoran Tosic (left) and Adem Ljajic (right) from Partizan Belgrade.

2008 Partizan Belgrade Zoran Tosic (left) Adem Ljajic - 0

United announced a couple of months ago they had reached agreement with Partizan for the duo, since when the Red Devils have been attempting to agree personal terms.

At one point it was suggested talks had collapsed as the various parties could not reach a satisfactory conclusion.

However, any outstanding issues have now been resolved, leaving winger Tosic free to join the Old Trafford outfit next week, with Ljajic – also an attacking midfielder – staying in Belgrade for the remainder of the season.

“I could not imagine a better New Year’s present and I am at a loss for words to describe how delighted I am,” Tosic told Serbian state television.

“I have to keep working hard, prove that I am good enough for United and earn my place in the club.”

The 21-year-old Tosic has already made 12 appearances for Serbia and is regarded as one of the best young wide players in Europe.

In theory, his arrival could be bad news for Nani, who has struggled to make anything like the same impact as countryman Cristiano Ronaldo, having left Sporting Lisbon for United 18 months ago.

However, with Ryan Giggs now 35 and set to figure even less over the next 18 months, Sir Alex Ferguson may decide to persevere with Nani, giving Tosic time to get used to his new surroundings.

At 17, Ferguson feels Ljajic will benefit from the stability of remaining with Partizan, knowing his first-team opportunities at United would be almost non-existent this season.

Ljajic has already made his presence felt at under-21 level for Serbia and most observers believe it is only a matter of time before he gains full international honours.

“I am happy to spend another year with Partizan because the club has done so much for me and I hope to win some silverware this season in return,” Ljajic said.

“But it’s a great honour to be signed by United, especially at the age of 17.”

It has been suggested United could end up paying around £17 million for the duo, who will link up with Nemanja Vidic at Old Trafford, although that figure is likely to be based heavily on future success and the club have refused to comment on the size of an initial payment.

As to any further spending, Ferguson said: “That’s the end of the transfer business for Manchester United this season.”

Sporting Life / Eurosport

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