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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 December 2007, 14:01 GMT
Monaco snap up Nigerian youngster
By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

Nigeria's Lukman Haruna holding the Under-17 World Cup
Nigeria's Lukman Haruna has signed for French club Monaco

French first division side Monaco have won the race to sign the Nigerian under-17 captain Lukman Haruna.

Haruna signs for the French club from Global Crystal Academy in Nigeria for an undisclosed fee, on a four-year contract and will join them in January.

The 17-year-old has helped Nigeria win the African and World Under-17 titles this year.

He is understood to have also attracted interest from Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Porto and Benfica.

He will begin his first season as an apprentice, with the hope of breaking into the Monaco first team by January 2009.

The player's agent, John Ola Shittu, said: "He was watched by several clubs but has worked very hard to get here."

"Despite interest from other clubs, we consulted with the family and agreed that Monaco would be a good step to develop his game.

"The deal is good for his career and financially too. He is focused on breaking into the first team as soon as possible, we're confident he will."

Haruna, who has been included in Nigeria's provisional squad for the 2006 African Nations Cup in Ghana, is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

"I'm excited about the opportunity of signing for a big club like Monaco," Haruna told BBC Sport.

"I have a big task ahead of me and I cannot afford to let my family and friends down.

"This is where I've always wanted to be and I am confident of proving myself because my target is to be a successful footballer."

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