United sign teenager as Rooney waits

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The Independent Football

Manchester United have signed the teenager Giuseppe Rossi from the financially-troubled Italian club Parma.

Manchester United have signed the teenager Giuseppe Rossi from the financially-troubled Italian club Parma.

The 16-year-old midfielder follows the Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique, a year his senior, to Old Trafford.

Rossi, who was born in the United States, has been capped by Italy at Under-17 level and is regarded as one of the most promising young players in Europe. United have been able to take advantage of the fact that as he had not signed a professional contract with Parma they will have to pay minimal compensation.

Although it is envisaged that Rossi will further his United education in the club's academy structure during the forthcoming campaign, his arrival is another attempt to safeguard the club's future by manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Rossi is not expected to be called on to take part in United's three-match pre-season tour of the United States where they will play Bayern Munich, Celtic and Milan. As well as Pique, he joins Alan Smith, who arrived from Leeds, and Gabriel Heinze from Paris St Germain, plus Lee Martin, the teenager signed from Wimbledon last year.

The chances of Wayne Rooney being the next teenager to sign for United, which had already receded at the weekend when the club's chief executive David Gill indicated that United were not in the market for the England international, seemed even more remote yesterday when Everton offered him a new five-year deal. Terms were not disclosed, but a spokesman said it was the biggest deal in the club's history.

The Nottingham Forest manager Joe Kinnear, meanwhile, has confirmed his interest in signing the Everton midfielder Leon Osman, who he spotted when the 23-year-old was on loan at Derby last season.

Though Rooney, whose current deal has two years left to run, may elect to stay with his club, others who distinguished themselves at Euro 2004 will almost certainly be on the move. Portsmouth confirmed yesterday that their chairman Milan Mandaric will fly to Athens today and open transfer talks with Angelos Basinas, who had an outstanding tournament in Portugal, crowned by taking the corner which produced Greece's winner in the final on Sunday. Mandaric will hope to persuade the 28-year-old that Premiership football will make up for the virtual guarantee of European competition he enjoys annually with Panathinaikos.

His team-mate, Uefa's player of the tournament, Theodoros Zagorakis, has signed for Bologna, according to an official at his club, AEK Athens. The inspirational national captain, 33, is likely to lead an exodus from the club, which is in danger of losing its professional status due to its €100m (£67m) debts. Atletico Madrid have also declared an interest in the former Leicester City player.

Middlesbrough yesterday unveiled Michael Reiziger as a new signing. The Dutch right-back, 31, has spent the last seven years at Barcelona, and turned down Valencia to sign a two-year deal at the Riverside.

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