United sign up Park

Malcolm Glazer had no sooner delisted Manchester United from the Stock Exchange on Wednesday, ending 14 years of trading in the club’s shares, than the club announced the arrival of a player who will go some way to easing the huge debts the American has incurred in his takeover.

At £4-million, United believe they have signed a bargain in the South Korean international, Park Ji-Sung, given the money he can generate in the Far East.

Park would have cost significantly more had he not been within a year of becoming a free agent at PSV Eindhoven, and the 24-year-old will be viewed as the long-term replacement for Paul Scholes, whose performances have been increasingly erratic over the past two seasons.

An attacking midfielder, Park attracted widespread acclaim for his performances in last season’s Champions League semifinal against Milan but United have been aware of him since the World Cup three years ago, when he played in all seven of South Korea’s matches en route to the semifinals.

Sir Alex Ferguson will resist any speculation that Park has been signed merely to enhance the club’s global appeal, and the player is adamant that he has been signed for his footballing skills. ‘I want to show my value to United in terms of my ability, not for some marketing strategy for Asia,” he said. ‘I am not going to England for business reasons and I’m confident I can prove myself at one of the world’s top clubs.”

Park should have no trouble obtaining the work permit that will make him United’s second signing, after the Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, of the Glazer era. —

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