Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed Manchester United had to move quickly to beat off competition for teenage midfielder Nick Powell from their Barclays Premier League rivals.
United formally signed the 18-year-old from Crewe on July 1, but had put the deal in place some time earlier fearing a dazzling display in the League Two play-off final at Wembley might prompt other suitors to join to fight to sign him.
Ferguson told www.manutd.com: "We thought that if we waited until the play-offs, the secret would be out, so to speak. All the TV cameras would be focussed on him and it might alert a few other clubs."
He added: "Mind you, there were already quite a few interested. As well as Arsenal and Chelsea, we knew Manchester City were keeping tabs on him as well, so I phoned [Crewe director of football] Dario Gradi, told him we were keen and we started negotiating.
"We sorted the deal with the chairman and agreed we'd leave it until after the play-off finals.
"It was all in place a good 10 days beforehand. Nick's agent told Nick after the match and then he came up to my house the next day and we got the deal done."