Manchester United are close to completing the signing of Italian U16 defender Luca Ercolani making him their first business of the January transfer window. The young centre-back has been training with the Red Devils at their Carrington complex for the last couple of months and is now ready to make his move permanent.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Ercolani has impressed coaches at United's Carrington training complex to earn himself a move to the club. Louis van Gaal has focused on strengthening the youth setup since his arrival, giving a number of youngsters a chance to impress with the first-team.
The 16-year-old central defender is currently contracted to Serie D side Forli, but the 20-time English champions will sign him for a compensatory fee, which will be decided by Fifa, due to his age. The youngster will not be eligible for a professional contract until he is 18.
The highly-rated defender, who has been training with the club for over a month, has posted a number of pictures from the club's training ground. He will join before the close of the current transfer window. Ercolani will become the tenth Italian footballer to sign for United following in the footsteps of Giuseppe Rossi, Federico Macheda, Massimo Taibi and Matteo Darmian among others.
The Old Trafford club, meanwhile, are in for a major setback in the coaching department, as according to The Times, the head of the youth player recruitment Derek Langley is set to depart following a 16-year stint with United.
The veteran recruiter, who is responsible for signing Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and Adnan Januzaj, is said to be disillusioned with the current state of affairs at the club's academy. The report claims that Langley is said to be unhappy with the club's policy regarding recruiting local talent, which has changed since the years of Sir Alex Ferguson. It is believed that the club are planning an overhaul of their youth academy with plans to imitate their neighbours Manchester City, who opened a purpose-built youth academy with state-of-the-art facilities just over a year back.