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postheadericon Young leaves Villa for Premier League champions

Talented winger Ashley Young has finally made the decision to switch from Aston Villa to domestic champions Manchester United after putting his signature on a contract worth around 17 million pounds for his former club. With Young signing a deal that will keep him at his new club until he’s 30 years of age, the player should be able to give the Red Devils the benefit of the best years of his footballing career.

The move came after months of speculation regarding the player’s future, with Young staying loyal to Villa for several years after he came to the public imagination with a number of stunning performances on the wing following his move from English football minnows Watford. With news of United’s interest in him after four and a half years with Villa, though, came a desire for a bigger challenge, and playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world was an opportunity Young simply could not turn down.

A man who knows the player very well, former Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd, revealed that United will find a prize asset in their new signing, who is apparently always desperate to improve his game wherever possible.

However, for Manchester United, the arrival of the youngster is just further evidence that the club are looking to add one or two new faces of quality to a squad that, although named champions last season, were accused by their critics of looking lethargic in certain areas of the pitch several times throughout the campaign. The winger is the club’s second summer signing after Blackburn defender Phil Jones, and the new arrivals are set to keep on coming, with Sir Alex Ferguson thought to be interested in bringing in one or two others before the start of the new league season.

High up on Ferguson’s list of potential new signings is David de Gea, Atletico Madrid’s talented young shot-stopper, whom many football experts believe could represent an effective replacement for the now retired former United goalkeeper Dutchman Edwin van der Sar. The young goalkeeper is, however, yet to agree anything with Manchester United, so at the moment the club’s fans will simply have to feel satisfied with the incoming Young.

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postheadericon Henderson joins up with resurgent Liverpool

Young English midfielder Jordan Henderson has joined Liverpool from Sunderland in a deal thought to be worth in the region of 20 million, with Kenny Dalglish and those on the Liverpool board beating off apparent interest from Manchester United to seal the deal. Henderson will travel to the club later this week for a medical and to finalise personal terms after the transfer fee was accepted by Sunderland and the club had provided the youngster with their blessing.

It had been expected that Henderson would become one of the first notable names in the Premier League to move before the start of next season after excelling in the early stages of the previous campaign for Sunderland, particularly in the side’s 3-0 drubbing of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and also making his England debut after catching the eye of Fabio Capello. Even though the player’s international debut was widely slated in the media, the youngster looking very much like a man without too much experience to his name against a hungry France side, a number of Premier League clubs still recognised his potential and made him one of their summer targets.

Earlier in 2011, the talented 20-year-old was named by FIFA as one of the 13 young players to watch over the coming years and he is currently preparing to join up with the England Under-21 squad ahead of the eagerly awaited European Championships. However, he will, in all likelihood, make the Liverpool deal his main priority over the coming days, with the player desperate to take a forward step in what has already been an admirable career trajectory.

Niall Quinn, Sunderland’s widely respected chairman, made it clear that the club remain grateful to the player for what he helped them to achieve during his spell there, while also hinting that the transfer fee for Henderson, which many feel was ridiculously high, will allow Sunderland to improve their squad in one or two key positions.

Whether Henderson can fit in easily at a club that is still not finding it easy to haul itself back into contention at the top of the English game is not yet clear, but there’s no doubt that he possesses both the spirit and determination to aid the Reds’ bid for glory.

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postheadericon Fergie eyes summer trio

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he is looking to bring three potential signings to the club in the summer. United have already secured the Premier League title this season, the Red Devils edging ahead of rivals Liverpool in the process with their 19th league title in England.

Manchester United will be handed the trophy at their final league game of the campaign against Blackpool on Sunday, before they start looking ahead to the final of the Champions League. Ferguson’s men are set to take on Barcelona at Wembley on May 28th as they look to complete an impressive double this term.

Despite another successful season, the Scottish manager is already looking ahead to the summer transfer market and expects to bring in a few players to the already talented United squad. High up on the 69-year-old’s list is a new goalkeeper, as current shot-stopper Edwin Van der Sar has announced he plans to retire from football at the end of the season in order to spend more time with his family.

United have been linked time and again over the last few months with Schalke’s talented goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, although the German international star looks like he could be on his way to Bayern Munich in the coming transfer window. Old Trafford veterans Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are also coming to the end of their careers and Ferguson is looking to bring a couple of fresh faces to the squad to liven the dressing room up a little.

The former Aberdeen manager has revealed to fans that United do have one or two players in particular in mind this summer, the Scot stating: “We have Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes coming towards the end of their careers, Gary Neville has already retired and Edwin van der Sar is retiring, so there are holes we want to plug up in terms of the safety and security of the team for the next few years. Of course, we have some excellent young players and a lot of them have progressed, which gives us a great, powerful squad. I am looking at maybe three signings which would boost our overall quality in our team”.

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postheadericon New Welsh training facility plans gather pace

All involved with the Welsh national football side have commended plans for a brand new national football training facility to be constructed at Newport International Sports Village, a massive site that currently houses cricket and tennis facilities, along with a velodrome.

The new facility will be worth a massive sum of 4.5 million, so the joint venture between the Welsh Football Trust, Football Association of Wales, and Newport City Council is certainly a significant financial undertaking, but those behind the plans and those likely to benefit from it in the future believe it is well worth it.

The centre, once it has been built and opened, will nurture and develop the quality in the Welsh women’s team, the under-21 squad, and younger age-group squads that contain players trying to break into the senior men’s team. The senior team isn’t being left out of the overall plans, though, with a new high-tech training facility set to be built for the senior players at the same location.

Current Wales manager Gary Speed has stated that building the facility is a crucial and imperative step that must be taken for the Welsh players to prove that they have their own footballing identity and are more than capable of stepping out of the shadow of their more illustrious neighbours England. Welshmen are known more for their rugby skills rather than their talent on the football pitch, and stars such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are part of a very select group representing the country in the Premier League in the United Kingdom.

Wales may no longer stand a chance of qualifying for next year’s European Championship, but with the glaring difference in quality between Wales and England clear for all neutral fans to see, it’s clear that something drastic needs to be done in order to evolve the state of football throughout the country. Whether or not the brand new facility turns out to be the most effective and sustainable long-term solution for all involved does, however, remain to be seen.

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