Fergie to beat Real and Milan to Greek wonderkid
Published 23:00 04/09/10 By Simon Mullock
Manchester United are set to capture Greek wonderkid Sotiris Ninis at the end of the season.
United are ready to trigger an £8million clause in the 20-year-old Panathinaikos contract after Sir Alex Ferguson identified him as the answer to his team’s need for a creative midfielder.
The Reds have already opened negotiations with the Athens club about taking Ninis to Old Trafford for next season.
Ninis, who was born in Albania, is already a regular in Greece’s international team.
He is also one of three club captains at Panathinaikos and has attracted interest from Real Madrid and AC Milan.
But United are now in pole position after telling the Greek side they will pay the get-out clause in the four-year contract that Ninis signed in 2008.
Any Greek club that wants Ninis has to pay £15million. But that figure drops to £8million if he moves abroad.
Ferguson is trying to bring in fresh talent from around the globe in relatively modest deals as the financial realities brought about by the Glazers’ ownership of United takes effect in the transfer market.
United spent £25million this summer to recruit the potential of Chris Smalling, Javier Hernandez and Bebe. Ninis fits the same profile.
Ferguson has made finding a long-term replacement for Paul Scholes, United’s midfield play-maker, a top priority. That’s why United were keen to pursue Germany international Mesut Ozil before he decided to join Real Madrid last month.
Ferguson is rightly proud of discovering emerging talents. Ninis may even develop like Cristiano Ronaldo.