NIGERIAN playmaker Ebere Eze has joined English Premier League side Crystal Palace from London Championship team Queens Park Rangers (QPR) for an undisclosed fee after he signed a five year contract this morning.
Since the end of last season, Eze has been the subject of a lot of transfer speculation after his scintillating form for QPR in the English Championship caught the eye. Several Premier league clubs including Arsenal, Leeds, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham and Tottenham Hotspurs have been linked with the midfielder.
A mercurial talent who can prise open defences single-handedly, Eze is seen as the closest thing to former Super Eagles skipper Austin JJ Okocha. Over the last year, the midfielder has been caught up in a tug of war between Nigeria and England with both national teams looking to secure his services at senior level.
Eze has already featured for the England youth team, so to play for Nigeria, he will have to go through a switch with Fifa. Nigerian Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick has already met with Eze and the midfielder has asked for time to consider his international future.
This morning, however, Eze’s career took a new turn as he is now a Premier League player after QPR finally agreed to sell him to Crystal Palace. QPR had valued Eze at £20m and had rejected several earlier bids from clubs that failed to meet their asking price, insisting that the full valuation must be met.
Lee Hoos, QPR’s chief executive, said: “Ebere has been fantastic to deal with throughout this entire process and I speak for everyone at the club when I wish him every success going forward. This transfer comes at a very important time for the club as we face so much uncertainty amid unprecedented economic times.
“While dealing with their own business challenges, the shareholders have continued to financially support the club in order to safeguard its status. While we recognise there is a need to invest in the squad, we will continue our ethos of looking to bring in young, hungry, unpolished gems who can develop with us.”
Les Ferdinand, QPR’s director of football, added: “You never want to lose one of your best players but the situation dictates that it’s necessary so that we can ultimately, grow and progress. I have no doubts Ebere will go on to enjoy a fantastic career in the game at the very top level.
“Allied to his natural talent, Ebere is an incredibly motivated, determined and humble individual and that is why there has been so much interest in him from Premier League sides. I am sure he would be the first to admit that he wasn’t the player he is today when he first walked through our door four years ago.
“His hard work, combined with the excellent coaching he experienced through all the stages of his QPR career, have helped him get to the next level and we are incredibly proud of him.” Eze came to QPR in the summer of 2016, initially agreeing a one-year contract and this has since been renewed.
Eze joined Wycombe Wanderers on loan for the first half of the 2017/18 campaign, and it was during his spell at Adams Park that he really started to make a name for himself. In 22 appearances he scored five goals and these, coupled with his all-round displays, demonstrated he was a player of real potential.
During his time with QPR, Eze made 112 appearances and scored 20 goals. In his final season at the club, he netted 14 times and was named the Supporters’ Player, Players’ Player and Junior Hoops Player of the Year.