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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has reportedly agreed a deal to sign Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell for a fee believed to be £25 million.

Rodwell is one of the hottest prospects in European football and has been linked with moves to Manchester United and Real Madrid in recent months, though The Sun now claims that Ferguson has moved to secure his long-term target.

Notwithstanding the fact that 20-year-old Rodwell only signed a five-year deal last May, the newspaper claims that Ferguson has persuaded club owners the Glazers to offer Everton £25m, a sum they believe the Toffees are not in a position to turn down.

Everton boss David Moyes would be loth to lose such a bright prospect after seeing the club cash in on Joleon Lescott and Wayne Rooney under his tenure, though given the club's current financial troubles he probably accepts that the Toffees would be hard-pushed to resist such a substantial offer.

Ferguson has also reportedly set his sights on Aston Villa pair Ashley Young and Ciaran Clark as he looks to steal a march on his summer transfer targets.

United have reportedly sounded out a £15m move to secure the pair, who have provided rare highlights in Aston Villa’s disappointing season under Gerard Houllier.

Young, a 25-year old winger, has been linked with moves to Liverpool and Tottenham and is widely expected to attract a bidding war this summer as he has no current plans to extend his Villa contract, which expires at the end of next season.  

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