Manchester United have beaten a host of Premier League rivals to the signature of highly-rated Crewe Alexandra midfielder Nick Powell, the club has confirmed.

The 18-year-old joins for an undisclosed fee, signing a four year contract with the Red Devils after passing a medical, and is tipped for a bright future at Old Trafford.

Speaking to the club's official website, Sir Alex Ferguson revealed how Powell has been the subject of an in-depth scouting process, and that he is looking forward to working with the talented teenager.

"We have scouted Nick for months now," explained the United boss. "He is an exceptional talent and has been schooled well at Crewe.

"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."

After scoring 16 goals in 45 appearances - including a memorable strike in the League Two play-off final victory over Cheltenham at Wembley - in his debut season with Crewe, the attacking midfielder attracted attention from numerous clubs.

However, Powell explained that once he heard United were interested, there was only one place he wanted to go, adding that it is a dream come true to sign for the Premier League giants.

"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."

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