Manchester United paid Serbian teenager at least £100,000 even though the prospective player was under contract to Partizan Belgrade, according to reports in The Telegraph today. Ljajić’s proposed £10 million move to United collapsed in acrimonious circumstances when the club failed to obtain a work permit for the 18-year-old.
“It is true that I was on the payroll of Manchester United and that I received a payment from them this year. It was a pre-contract [payment], but I will not to go into it. My father and manager take care of the details of the contract,” said Ljajić, who is still likely to be sold by Partizan in the upcoming transfer window.
Initially, United claimed that Ljajić had not progressed while at Partizan this season but was then forced to backtrack and admit the failure to gain a work-permit was the route cause.
“Stories about stagnation in my football development are nonsense,” Ljajic said this week.
“If Manchester United were really not satisfied with how much I’ve progressed in this year, I would not have been with [Sir Alex] Ferguson two months ago at the end of my last cycle of mandatory training at the club before moving to England.
“The reason for the transfer not happening is that I couldn’t get a business licence [work permit]. Who knows what I will do next? I have heard already that clubs are interested and that Partizan want to sell me. We’ll see.”