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Man Utd sign Shide striker Dong Fangzhuo
( 2004-01-13 09:10) (Agencies)

Manchester United have completed the signing of Chinese prodigy Dong Fangzhou.

In a complicated transfer, United will pay an initial 500,000 for the 18-year-old striker C which could eventually rise to 3.5 million depending on appearances.

But because Dong does not qualify for a UK work permit, he will have to begin his United career at Belgian feeder club Royal Antwerp at the start of next season.

Should he prove good enough to play in the Premiership he would then be forced to either apply for a Belgian passport C which would allow him to play in England C or have played in 75% of Chinas international matches over the next two years in order to qualify for a work permit.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who last week tied up a pre-contract agreement for Celtic midfielder Liam Miller in his drive to build a squad for the post-Ryan Giggs era, will not be the only one hoping the deal will work.

Should the transfer eventually prove a success the Old Trafford money-men can expect to benefit from an explosion of interest in United in the worlds most populous country.

Everton and Manchester City have already benefited commercially from the signings of Li Tie and Sun Jihai respectively C but that would be dwarfed by the attention United could attract.

 
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