United will pay Petrucci £95,000 a year and will cover the cost of regular flights home to Italy. The deal is the maximum permissible offer for a youth-team player. Roma will receive around £200,000 in compensation but the move has caused fury.
"It is a nightmare," said Il Romanista, a newspaper dedicated to Roma. "Manchester United have dealt us another low blow, stealing Petrucci from under our noses, probably the best product of our youth system. In three to four years, he will be worth 100 times as much."
Petrucci, who comes from the San Basilio suburb of Rome, has been compared to a young Francesco Totti and could have made the first-team squad next year. However, Roma offered him a contract worth only £16,000 a year, the basic youth-team deal. Petrucci was also said to be concerned that he had not already been called up to the first team. Totti made his debut in 1993 when he was 16.