FC Forli football chief Silvio Poli says the club is delighted for Luca Ercolani over his move to Manchester United.
The teenage defender was spotted by United's Italian scout David Williams last year and enjoyed successful trials at Carrington over an extended two-month period.
Poli admits United's approach was a "pleasant surprise", though they were aware of growing transfer interest in Ercolani from clubs higher up the Italian football pyramid.
"The first contacts we had with Manchester United came in August 2015," Poli told Tribalfootball.com.
Poli, whose career includes spells with Cesena and Santarcangelo, says Ercolani is a natural centre-half and comfortable playing in several different systems.
"Luca is a central defender, he can play in a back three and a back four," adds Poli.
And after negotiating Ercolani's move to the English giants, there is hope at Serie D Forli of establishing deeper ties with United in the future.
Poli says: "Certainly, the Luca transfer will strengthen the relationship between the two clubs."