Race to sign Cardiff teenager hots up

Everton are believed to be the third club who have had an offer accepted for talented Welsh youngster Aaron Ramsey and been given permission to speak to the player.

And they are expected to be joined in the race for the Cardiff teenager by local rivals Liverpool today.

Sources in South Wales claim Everton made a formal bid for the 17-year-old midfielder last night, although the Goodison Park club declined to confirm their move.

The race for Ramsey, considered to be the best young Welsh player since Ryan Giggs, moved swiftly yesterday when Manchester United announced on their website, www.manutd.com, they had agreed a fee for the Caerphilly-born youngster.

Ramsey became the youngest player to appear in an FA Cup final at Wembley as a late substitute last month.

He was in Wales’ squad for the two friendlies last week in Iceland and Holland but was not used by national boss John Toshack.

United were then believed to be the only club in the race, having held discussions with Cardiff boss Dave Jones in Moscow the previous week prior to the Champions League final.

But as soon as the Old Trafford club made their claim yesterday, Cardiff issued a statement saying there was another bid that had been approved.

That is from Arsenal, who have also matched United’s £5m offer. Everton then stepped into the battle with a similar deal.

Liverpool made a verbal inquiry last week, although they have not yet put it in writing. But Cardiff are expecting an offer from Anfield that could include two players on loan.

One could be winger Paul Anderson, who helped Swansea to promotion last season on a 12-month loan that has now ended. The other player is believed to be striker Adam Hammill, who has been on loan at Dunfermline.

The deal that interests Cardiff the most is from Manchester United, who would loan back the player immediately for a year.

But Arsenal’s move is more intriguing. Ramsey’s best friend is former Cardiff youngster Chris Gunter, who joined Spurs last season.

Also at Spurs is another Cardiff-born player, Gareth Bale. All three players are friends and international squad colleagues, and having two familiar faces around him in north London would certainly help Ramsey as he moves into the Premier League.

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