United tie up Smalling signing
Cottagers starlet to pen four-year deal with Red Devils
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: January 28, 2010 8:15pm
Smalling: Rapid rise to prominence
Manchester United have confirmed that Chris Smalling will join the club on a four-year contract this summer, after passing his medical on Thursday.
The Red Devils won the race to land the highly-rated defender on Tuesday, edging out arch-rivals Arsenal who had also been chasing the 20-year-old.
The England U21 international will see out the remainder of the 2009/10 campaign at Craven Cottage, before heading to Old Trafford in July.
United are hoping Smalling will become an integral part of their first-team plans for years to come and are delighted to have secured the youngster's services.
It has taken the cultured centre-half just nine senior appearances to earn his switch to the Theatre of Dreams, as he was playing non-league football with Maidstone as recently as 2008.
He will now be hoping that the opportunity to work alongside seasoned internationals, such as Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, will further aid his development.
"Chris is an extremely talented young defender, who we have been monitoring for some months," Sir Alex Ferguson told United's official website.
"He is very quick and reads the game well. He will be a great asset to the club, playing alongside some of the best defenders around and we are delighted to have secured his signature."
Smalling added: "Joining Manchester United is an unbelievable opportunity for me.
"My time at Fulham has been great and I have learned a lot about the game from Roy Hodgson and the coaching staff.
"But the chance of coming to the biggest club in the world is something I just couldn't turn down.
"I am excited about working with Sir Alex and the fantastic players in his squad."