Wayne Rooney set to lose second Derby prospect to Crystal Palace after ‘taking advantage’ remark

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Crystal Palace have reportedly beaten Manchester United to the signing of Derby Counter starlet Malcolm Ebiowei.

The 18-year-old winger has been of interest to both Palace and United for some time following a breakthrough season at Pride Park working under Wayne Rooney, playing 15 times in all competitions and scoring once, as the Rams suffered relegation to League One following a points deduction.

A former Arsenal academy prospect, Ebiowei has represented both England and the Netherlands at youth level and was a free transfer for Derby last September from Rangers where he signed a one-year contract, spending the first half of the season with the Under-18s and Under-22s before being promoted to the senior squad by Rooney in January.

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United are said to have held talks with Ebiowei’s representatives and tracked him for months in a bid to bring him to Old Trafford but, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, it’s Selhurst Park and Patrick Vieira that the teenager has chosen, reportedly completing his medical this week ahead of signing a five-year deal.

He tweeted: “English talent Malcolm Ebiowei won’t join Manchester United. He’s set to sign his contract with Crystal Palace after medicals completed this week, it’s a done deal. Ebiowei will leave Derby County to join Palace – contract will be valid until June 2027. To be clear: Ebiowei’s medical has been already completed earlier this week, all done. Five-year deal to be signed very soon – Crystal Palace statement to follow right after.”

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Ebiowei’s expected arrival in SE25 will be the second time Palace have managed to sign a hot prospect from Derby this year following Luke Plange’s £1million arrival in January. The striker was loaned back to the Rams until the end of the season, though this didn’t stop Rooney from calling out the Eagles for ‘taking advantage’ of their financial situation.

Palace chairman Steve Parish said upon the announcement of the deal that sending Plange back to Derby on loan was a result of the Eagles wanting to make a deal that benefitted both clubs, referencing Palace’s own recent financial struggles back in 2010 as a reason for doing so.

But Palace weren’t the only club eyeing up Derby’s players, with talented 18-year-old left-back Dylan Williams leaving to join Chelsea after making just nine first-team appearances and experienced defender Graeme Shinnie leaving for Wigan.

“Some people might look at it and say, it’s young players that (have) gone out, but we’ve been relying on young players all season, so it’s a big hit for us,” Rooney told BBC Radio Derby via the Express. “We’re in a difficult position and I feel other clubs have taken advantage of that. Whether that’s Wigan with Graeme Shinnie, Crystal Palace with Luke Plange, they’ve seen an opportunity.

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“There’s a reason why they’ve come in and tried to do it now because they know they are getting the players a lot lower than they are actually valued at.”

It remains to be seen how Rooney will react to potentially losing Ebiowei after just one season at the club, though given his contract was expiring it’s likely there was little he or Derby could have done. The teenager is now seemingly all set to join Vieira at Selhurst Park and could even be included in the team’s pre-season tour to Singapore and Australia with other burgeoning members of the Palace academy.

READ NEXT:

* Wayne Rooney blasts Crystal Palace and Chelsea for ‘taking advantage’ of Derby County

* Steve Parish sends Derby County classy message following deadline day Luke Plange transfer

* Patrick Vieira eyes up Crystal Palace switch but needs Steve Parish to help him with transfers

* Who Is Malcolm Ebiowei? Former Arsenal prospect being persued by Man United and Crystal Palace

* Crystal Palace announce released list of players as midfielder shown exit door

Source by Football London

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