United's Ljajic sets timetable for swift impact

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The Independent Online

The Manchester United new boy Adem Ljajic has given himself 12 months to force his way into Sir Alex Ferguson's first-team squad.

Ljajic signed for United from Partizan Belgrade, part of a £17m double deal in which Zoran Tosic also joined the Old Trafford side.

While Tosic has already made his senior debut, coming on as substitute in both the FA Cup win over Tottenham last month and the Premier League encounter with West Bromwich three days later, 17-year-old Ljajic has remained in Belgrade, where he will stay until next January before joining his new club.

Dubbed "the new Kaka" in his homeland, Ljajic is a man in a hurry. He has already spent a couple of weeks at United's Carrington training headquarters. And when he gets to Manchester, he is determined to figure in Ferguson's plans.

"The quality in England is very high because you are training with such great players, but the main difference is it's much quicker," Ljajic said. "I really enjoyed it and training with such top players can only help me improve.

"Coming over to England allowed me to see how things worked, so I know what to expect when I come here permanently. And I hope that when I join in January I will be involved with the first team from the start."

Although speculation has surfaced about a possible bid for Nemanja Vidic from Milan this summer, it seems highly unlikely United would be willing to part with the prospective footballer of the year. Ljajic certainly hopes not, as he has already benefited from having Vidic around. "It has been great to see him," he said. "I have spent a lot of time with him whenever I have been over in Manchester and he has shown me around the city.

"It can be hard when you move to a new country and don't know anyone and are yet to learn the language, so it has been fantastic to have him here."

While Ljajic is coy about his own abilities, Tosic is happy enough to sing his team-mate's praises. "Adem is a very good player with great technical ability," Tosic said. "We played together for around six months at Partizan and I am sure that when he starts playing for United, the fans will love him."

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