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Crystal Palace confirm Adam Wharton signing

Crystal Palace confirm Adam Wharton signing
© Reuters
Crystal Palace confirm the signing of 19-year-old midfielder Adam Wharton from Blackburn Rovers in a deal which could fetch up to £22m.

Crystal Palace have confirmed the signing of Adam Wharton from Blackburn Rovers in a deal which could fetch up to £22m.

The highly-rated 19-year-old arrives at Selhurst Park on a five-and-a-half-year deal until the summer of 2029, and Palace have pipped a couple of Premier League heavyweights to his signature.

Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur were believed to be keeping a close eye on Wharton's development, but the England Under-20 international has now committed his long-term future to Roy Hodgson's side, despite only penning a new deal at Ewood Park last month.

Wharton becomes the Eagles' second signing of the winter window after Colombian right-back Daniel Munoz, and the teenager labelled it a "great honour" to pull on the Palace jersey for the first time.

"It's a great feeling – I've always wanted to play in the Premier League. To play for a such a big club like Crystal Palace is a great honour," Wharton told PalaceTV upon his arrival in London. "It's something that I think nearly every kid who plays football dreams of. It's the best league in the world. I'm really looking forward to it and I can't wait."

Wharton's move to Selhurst Park sees the midfielder end a 14-year association with Blackburn, whom he joined at the age of six, and he worked his way up the academy ranks to earn his first professional deal in the summer of 2022.

Comfortable as a number six or number eight, the 2004-born lynchpin was named Blackburn's Young Player of the Year for the 2022-23 campaign, in which he came up with two goals and an assist in 18 Championship matches.

Wharton's stock has continued to rise over the past few months thanks to another spate of eye-catching performances in the second tier, where he registered two goals and three assists in 26 games in the 2023-24 season before moving up the divisions.

The 19-year-old will be bidding to follow in the footsteps of Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze, who have blossomed into coveted Premier League players since also making the step-up from Championship football, as the duo were involved in all three of Palace's goals in their 3-2 win over Sheffield United on Tuesday.

"I think that's something that stands out with Crystal Palace – the way they have brought players from the Championship and developed them into world-class players in the Premier League," Wharton added.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson pictured on December 16, 2023© Reuters

"That's something that stood out to me and it's a big reason why I wanted to come here. The goals that [Eze and Olise] scored [against Sheffield United] were unbelievable. It just shows how much they have progressed since they came from the Championship. That is something I want to do at this football club, and hopefully I can."

Palace chairman Steve Parish believes that Selhurst Park will also provide Wharton with the perfect environment to fulfil his "undoubted potential", adding: "I'm delighted that Adam, a player whose rapid development we have followed closely, has decided to join us at Crystal Palace.

"Adam's consistently impressive performances for Blackburn at such a young age have understandably caught the eye of many a club, but we believe Palace to be – as has so often been the case in recent years – the perfect place to harness his undoubted potential, and we look forward to working with him in the years ahead to do so."

Wharton reinforces Hodgson's midfield ranks at a time when Cheick Doucoure is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, which could prevent the Mali international from playing again this season.

The former Blackburn youngster will be in contention to make his Premier League and Palace debut when Hodgson's side take on M23 derby rivals Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex on Saturday.

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