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Newz Forum: SOCCER: Smith signs with Manchester United

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posted on May, 26 2004 @ 02:16 PM
Manchester United have confirmed the signing of England striker Alan Smith from Leeds in a deal worth 7 million. Smith passed a medical on Wednesday and then put pen to paper on a five-year contract at Old Trafford. Leeds fans are seething that the home-town boy they hailed a hero during a disastrous last 12 months has so actively sought a transfer to their bitterest rivals.

Alan Smith has vowed he is ready to win the doubters over and claimed he was joining one of the world's biggest clubs. The 23 year old, a life long Leeds fan, would have been due a cut of his old club's fee because he never asked for a transfer, but he has waived this. Manchester United defender Danny Pugh, 21, will be moving in the opposite direction as part of the deal.

Smith, born in Leeds, signed his first professional contract at Elland Road in 1998 and made his first team debut that same year, scoring with his first touch against Liverpool. He signed an improved five year contract in 1999 and agreed another one in 2001, but after Leeds' relegation he wanted to leave.

While he knows there is no chance of building bridges with the supporters at Elland Road, Smith, who has won eight England caps and is on standby for Euro 2004, is hoping his determination to play for United wins him some goodwill around Old Trafford. Middlesbrough, Everton and Newcastle all expressed an interest in the Rothwell born player but Smith quickly made it plain he wanted to join the Red Devils. Sir Alex Ferguson, already a long-time admirer, could not have been more impressed and quickly asserted his desire to sign a player who will add an extra physical presence to his strikeforce.


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