Adam Wharton has revealed that Crystal Palace’s track record for developing players signed from the Championship convinced him to join from Blackburn Rovers.
The 19-year-old midfielder became the most expensive transfer to go through on deadline day when his move was finally announced on Thursday, with Palace understood to have paid £18.5m up front in a deal that could be worth up to £22m with add-ons.
Wharton becomes Palace’s second signing of the January transfer window after the arrival of Daniel Muñoz from the Belgian club Genk earlier this week, although a late bid to sign West Ham’s Maxwel Cornet failed to materialise despite terms being agreed with the Ivory Coast winger.
Wharton’s move was agreed on Tuesday after Palace had seen their initial offer of £15m up front rejected by Blackburn. But having seen Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise become integral parts of Roy Hodgson’s squad since they were signed from QPR and Reading respectively after starring in the Championship, the England Under-20 international admitted he was hoping to follow in their footsteps.
“I’ve always wanted to play in the Premier League and to play for such a big club like Crystal Palace is a great honour,” Wharton said.
“The way they’ve brought players from the Championship and developed them into world-class players in the Premier League is something that stood out to me, and it’s a big reason why I wanted to come here.”
The Palace chairman, Steve Parish, said: “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.”