sport

Thompson: The price was right

Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson believes Ryan Gauld can flourish on the European stage after he sealed his move to Portuguese League runners-up Sporting Lisbon.

The 18-year-old prodigy - who has started just 26 league games for United - has wrapped up the switch to Lisbon for an undisclosed fee.

Luis Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani are just some of the star names to have come through the ranks at Sporting - and Thompson has no doubts that Gauld can join that illustrious pantheon.

"It's never easy to to let one of your best players go but it was a fantastic deal for the club and a great opportunity for Ryan," Thompson told Sky Sports News.

"I cannot discuss the confidentiality of the agreement with Sporting but we are very pleased with the contract that we have got. If he is successful and moves on further down the line then we will benefit from that as well.

"We have said for a number of months that we didn't want to sell anybody unless the deal was right for our club and it was the right club for Ryan. Once he found out who the club were he was very keen to go and speak to them.

"They were the first club to come to the table and have proper negotiations with us. He is a pretty quiet lad he will get on with it and I think he will settle in well. It's a great opportunity and a great club that he has gone to.

"I think he has handled the pressure over the last year very well and I think he will continue to handle it very well. He's only 18 but he's very mature for his age. It puts us on the map in Europe and we have a lot of young talent at the club; hopefully they can kick on and have another successful season.

"We have carefully structured our finances at this club. Jackie (McNamara) and I were chatting this morning about players we would like to bring in for next season and we will keep working quietly towards that."

You'll be able to watch Sporting Lisbon in Champions League action next season on Sky Sports 5 - the new home of European football.