SHEFFIELD United fended-off interest from Premier League and Championship clubs to capture the signature of Diego De Girolamo.
The striker, rated as one of the most promising players in United’s academy, put pen to paper on a professional contract earlier this week after impressing coaching staff with his displays at under-18 and under-21 level.
Sources have indicated that De Girolamo, who is now tied to Danny Wilson’s side until 2015, was being monitored by some of English football’s leading names before being officially unveiled on Monday.
Regional scouts from Manchester giants United and City were among those reportedly alerted to the 17-year-old’s progress.
De Girolamo said: “I am delighted to be able to pledge my long-term future to the club. I have been here since I was seven. I have been happy with my performances this season, and hopefully in time I can be in and around the first team squad.”
Wilson has pledged to intergrate home grown talent into the team which climbed to second in the League One table with Monday’s win over Portsmouth. George Long and Joe Ironside could both feature when United visit Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup first round on Saturday.
“Diego will continue to work hard up at Shirecliffe,” Wilson said. “He has a lot of hard work ahead of him but having seen him play this season, he is certainly one for the future.”