After weeks of speculation, Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Crewe Alexandra teen, Nick Powell.

“We have scouted Nick for months now. He is an exceptional talent and has been schooled well at Crewe,” said Ferguson. “I’m delighted he has chosen to come to United. He has a lot to offer and we are all looking forward to working with him.”

The 18-year-old made his début for his local club two years ago, after joining them when he was just 5. When he was 16, he was linked with a move to Arsenal.

“It really is a dream come true to be signing for Manchester United,” he said. “I have had a great time at Crewe and I would like to thank them for helping me to develop as a player over the past 13 years. I’m excited about continuing my development with Sir Alex and the world-class players in the squad. The thought of making the step up to the Premier League next season is an exciting prospect. I can’t wait to get started.”

Powell scored a cracking goal in Crewe’s League Two play-off final victory over Cheltenham (see video) but was quick to play it down in a post-match interview. “If I’m honest I just whacked it, there was nothing in that,” he said. “I knew the guy was away to my left so I thought, I’ve got this space, I might as well have a go.”

David Platt, Danny Murphy and Robbie Savage all started their careers with Crewe but their chairman, John Bowler, says Powell is the best to come through their ranks.

“I think he’s the best there has been,” he said. “But you would have to ask Dario that because he’s the expert. Certainly Dario does not underestimate this lad’s talent. He’s got natural ability and Dario said, in his view, there is no reason why Nick cannot play at the highest level of league football.”