Leeds United were forced to beat off several clubs last night to sign highly-rated Manchester United defender Scott Wootton.
The 21-year-old centre-half, who can also play in either full-back position, graduated from the Old Trafford Academy and even featured in the UEFA Champions League for the Premier League champions.
But the former England youth international – who has experience of the Championship after loans with Peterborough and Nottingham Forest – has agreed to join Brian McDermott’s side on a three–year contract.
“I’m delighted to have agreed the signing of Scott Wootton on a three-year deal,” said McDermott. “He’s a player who has played in the Champions League and someone we feel will develop with us in the coming years.
“I want to say thanks for the owners in doing the deal and bringing another young player to help us go forward.”
Chairman Salah Nooruddin said: “We’re delighted to agree a deal to bring in Scott.
“He is a young player who has played on the biggest stages, and who Brian identified as one he was keen to sign, not just for what he brings now, but for the future as well.”
United managing director David Haigh added: “The owners and board have said all along that we will support Brian in strengthening the first-team squad in order to create a successful and sustainable future for Leeds United. Scott fits the bill perfectly and we welcome him as an exciting addition to the squad that the manager is shaping.”
Arsenal will be without England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) for tonight’s Champions League play-off first leg away to Fenerbahce.
The 20-year-old has been ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury, which saw him limp out of the home defeat to Aston Villa.
Full-back Nacho Monreal (back) is available again, but midfielder Mikel Arteta (thigh) misses out again.
Captain Thomas Vermaelen (back) continues his rehabilitation, along with midfielder Abou Diaby (knee).
Celtic have left themselves with it all to do to reach the Champions League after a surprise 2-0 defeat to Kazakhstan champions Shakhter Karagandy in the first leg of their play-off at the Astana Arena.
The Scottish champions started the game well but found themselves behind in the 12th minute when Andrei Finonchenko took advantage of some slack defending to score from close range.
The visitors had the best of things in the second half and in the 77th minute powerful striker Sergei Khizhnichenko headed in a second to stun the Scots.