Crystal Palace academy prospect Zion Atta has chosen to stay with the Eagles, despite interest from several elite English clubs.
The 14-year-old moved to Selhurt Park from fellow Londoners Millwall in the summer of 2018, with Palace’s youth staff instantly taking note of his talents. The forward has progressed well since his arrival, catching the eye of scouts from a number of Premier League rivals.
Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur tried to snap up Atta before his switch to Palace, whilst both Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool have since joined the race for his signature.
However, all six sides have been left disappointed after the youngster and his family decided it was in his best interests to remain in south London for the foreseeable future, as reported by TEAMtalk.
Atta has been impressed with Palace’s facilities and the manner in which they handle their youth players, with the management now expected to fast-track the striker into their under-18s squad.
Unfortunately for Roy Hodgson and the Eagles hierarchy, they cannot offer the starlet a professional contract given his age, meaning they wouldn’t be able to prevent him moving to another club if he chose to take that course of action.
Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that Atta will look elsewhere to continue his development after making a strong start to life at Palace. Moreover, the club’s record of producing well-rounded footballers is another reason for the teenager to stick around.
Amongst other recent success stories from their academy are Liverpool and England right-back Nathaniel Clyne, Chelsea winger Victor Moses, and current Eagles high-flyer Wilfried Zaha.
In a similar vein, Hodgson has shown his willingness to give youth a chance in his two seasons in charge at Selhurst Park, regularly fielding inexperienced players in cup ties, as well as Premier League fixtures on occasion.
For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter!