Wayne Rooney joined Manchester United yesterday despite a last minute holdup caused by his broken foot.

Manchester United finalized the deal to acquire the 18-year-old striker from Everton at the transfer deadline date. The six-year deal is worth $48.3 million. With agent fees, the total soars to $54 million.

"It was a tough decision to leave Everton, the club I've supported and played for all my life, but I'm excited to be joining a club as big as Manchester United," Rooney said in a statement released by his new team. "I feel this can only improve my career, playing with top players in top competitions like the Champions League and I can't wait to meet up with the team."

Rooney was scheduled to attend a news conference today.

"I am very excited, I think we have got the best young player this country has seen in the past 30 years," United Coach Alex Ferguson said. "Everyone is delighted by this signing."

In the hours before the signing, Rooney visited a Manchester hospital twice to have his broken right foot examined. He broke the metatarsal bone playing against Portugal at Euro 2004 in June and will be out of action for at least another month.

* HOCKEY: Ron Francis turned down a front-office job with the Carolina Hurricanes and is deciding whether he wants to continue playing.

The Hurricanes told the 41-year-old center and former team captain that they didn't want him back as a player, but they offered him a position working with young players in their system.

Carolina traded Francis to Toronto in March after he spent six seasons with the Hurricanes. He became a free agent in July.

"I haven't made any decisions about what I want to do, but if I decide to play, then obviously I can't take the job," said Francis, who helped Carolina reach the 2002 Stanley Cup finals. "If I don't play, I don't think the timing is right to step in there."

Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford said the Hurricanes wouldn't hire someone else to fill the position offered to Francis, but the team might add another pro scout instead.

Only two NHL players have played in more games than Francis, who with 1,731 is 37 behind Gordie Howe and 25 behind Mark Messier. He is second in assists with 1,249, behind only Wayne Gretzky, and fourth in points with 1,798 -- including 549 goals.

-- From News Services