As Manchester United off-loaded Roy Carroll yesterday, they were preparing to secure Christiano Ronaldo's future.
Carroll, 27, who was put on the market after turning down a new contract, has moved on a free transfer to West Ham. He is the first arrival in the campaign by the Hammers manager, Alan Pardew, to prepare for the rigours of the Premiership next season.
Ronaldo, 20, looks certain to continue his career at Old Trafford, even if several of Europe's leading lights have been casting envious eyes after a string of superb displays in the Premiership and for Portugal. He is thought to have agreed a new five-year deal, which he is due to sign when he returns from holiday.
Ronaldo has scored 15 goals in 90 games for United after moving to England from Sporting Lisbon for £12.5m as an 18-year-old.
He signed an initial five-year deal for United on the lowest wage band and his value now to the club is amplified at national level. He has scored seven goals for Portugal in their World Cup qualifying matches and is second in Europe's goal-scoring ranks, ahead of Andrei Shevchenko and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
He may be joined soon by the South Korean midfielder Park Ji-Sung, who has reiterated his desire to leave PSV Eindhoven for Old Trafford. "He has decided to join the English team," his agent, Kim Jeong-il, was quoted as saying.
Pardew, meanwhile, has promised more new faces at Upton Park this summer after Carroll's signing.
The manager has spoken of the need to strengthen the Hammers' squad in the wake of their play-off final victory over Preston, which ended a two-year exile from the Premiership. The defender Christian Dailly and the striker Teddy Sheringham, who will be 40 next April, have signed new, one-year deals, while the left-back Chris Powell and the midfielder Shaun Newton are close to agreeing new contracts.
Pardew, who has been linked with a £1.2m move for the Watford striker Heidar Helguson, had to secure goalkeeping cover after a serious knee injury to Jimmy Walker in Cardiff last month. Of Carroll he said: "Roy brings all the qualities we need for the coming campaign and we're delighted to have him as part of our squad.
"This will be the first of what I hope will be three or four more signings to strengthen the team."
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