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Jan 2, 2009

Man United sign Serbian duo

Manchester United have concluded their business in the January transfer window with the capture of Serbian duo Zoran Tosic and Adem Ljajic from Partizan Belgrade, according to manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

"That is the end of the transfer business at Manchester United this year,'' Ferguson said. "There will definitely not be anything else this January.''

United announced a couple of months ago they had reached agreement with Partizan for Tosic and Ljajic, since when the Red Devils have been attempting to agree personal terms and acquire visas.

Ferguson himself personally attend a November hearing regarding the work permit of 21-year-old Tosic and the deal looked close to collapse at one point.

However, any outstanding issues have now been resolved, leaving Tosic free to swap the Stadion Partizana for Old Trafford next week, with Ljajic staying in Belgrade for the remainder of the season.

Despite being just 21, Tosic has already made 12 appearances for Serbia, including at the Beijing Olympics, and is regarded as one of the best young wide players in Europe.

"He will need to get used to the tempo of our game and the training but he could play for us this season,'' Ferguson said of Tosic. "Hopefully he does well but we will have to give him time because he has not played since December 10."

In theory, Tosic's arrival could be bad news for Nani, who has struggled to make anything like the same impact as fellow countryman Cristiano Ronaldo, having left Sporting Lisbon for United 18 months ago.

On signing for United Tosic said:"I could not imagine a better New Year's present and I am at a loss for words to describe how delighted I am."

"I have to keep working hard, prove that I am good enough for United and earn my place in the club," the winger told Serbian state television.

At just 17, Ferguson feels Ljajic will benefit from the stability of remaining with Partizan, knowing his first-team opportunities at United would be almost non-existent this season.

The youngster said: "I am happy to spend another year with Partizan because the club has done so much for me and I hope to win some silverware this season in return."

"But it's a great honour to be signed by United, especially at the age of 17," the midfielder said.

Ljajic has already made his presence felt at under-21 level for Serbia and most observers believe it is only a matter of time before he gains full international honours.

It has been suggested United could end up paying around £17million for the duo, who will link up with compatriot Nemanja Vidic at Old Trafford, although that figure is likely to be based heavily on future success and the club have refused to comment on the size of an initial payment.

Ferguson did not make clear whether his statement on the end of transfer business included turning Carlos Tevez's loan deal into a permanent transfer.

Although it has been suggested Tevez's advisor Kia Joorabchian is due to have more talks with United chief executive David Gill, the United boss has been unable to shed any more light on the present position.

"I am not going on about that (transfer) because it is never-ending,'' said Ferguson.

"I am sure David Gill (United chief executive) is doing his best with it but I have nothing to report.''

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