Palace respond to Zaha blow by beating Chelsea, Newcastle in race for £25.7m Brazilian teenager

Jason Soutar
New Crystal Palace signing Matheus Franca during a match.
New Crystal Palace signing Matheus Franca during a match.

Crystal Palace have won the race to sign highly-rated Brazilian teenager Matheus Franca, according to reports.

Roy Hodgson’s side have been dealt a huge blow this summer, losing club legend Wilfried Zaha, who joined Galatasaray on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract at Selhurst Park.

With Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise also being linked with an exit, the transfer window has the potential to be very detrimental to their hopes of a good season.

Moving on from all the doom, gloom, and scaremongering, Palace have reportedly agreed a deal to sign Flamengo starlet Franca.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano reported earlier this month that the Eagles had “submitted a formal proposal” to sign Franca, who was said to be “open to the move”.

And on Sunday, Romano said a deal worth a total of €30million (£25.7million) is close to being finalised.

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“Crystal Palace are set to sign Brazilian talent Matheus Franca! Documents are being exchanged between clubs — here we go,” Romano said on Twitter.

“Understand Flamengo will receive €20m fixed fee plus €10m in add-ons. Medical booked for next week.”

Romano later added that the 19-year-old is in the United Kingdom to undergo his medical.

Palace are expected to pay €25m (£21.4m) as “easy add-ons” worth €5m are included in the deal, while another €5m will be paid if Franca wins the Ballon d’Or.

Furthermore, Flamengo will be entitled to 20 per cent of any future sale.

Palace have done well to land the signing of Franca after he was attracting interest from a host of top European clubs including Newcastle United and Chelsea.

Franca is a player who often operates in a No. 10 role, though he is likely to operate on the right or left flank following Zaha’s departure.

Speaking after the Ivorian’s move to Turkey was confirmed, Eagles boss Hodgson said: “I was really sad to hear that Wilf has decided to leave and start a new chapter in his footballing life.

“I was always hoping that he would commit his future to the club and I would have the benefit of working with him again this season.

“I would like to thank him personally for everything he did during my time as manager.

“The club is losing an iconic figure and, although we regret that it has not been possible to persuade Wilfried to stay longer, we can only wish the very best of luck to him and his family in their new venture.”

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