Patrick Vieira had stated that Crystal Palace should continue their transfer window activity, and the Eagles have done so by announcing the signing of a young player!
Crystal Palace have announced the signing of Northern Ireland under-21 international Kofi Balmer from Northern Ireland Football League side Larne F.C. on a one-year contract.
Last season, the 21-year-old defender made over 40 appearances for Larne in all competitions, helping his side finish fifth and earn a Europa Conference League play-off spot after retaining the County Antrim Shield in January.
Prior to joining Larne, Balmer established himself with fellow NIFL club Ballymena United, making his debut at the age of 16 in the 2016/17 season and helping the club finish second only two seasons later.
Balmer joins fellow summer signings Cheick Doucoure, Chris Richards, Sam Johnstone, and Malcom Ebiowei at Selhurst Park, amid Patrick Vieira’s claims that Palace must maintain their market activity.
Upon signing, Balmer declared: “It’s surreal. I feel amazing. It’s every boy’s dream to play football professionally, but to come to a club like Crystal Palace with all the top quality facilities – I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
Meanwhile Academy Director Gary Issott added: “He fits the profile of young, hungry and talented players that we want at the club and he has already amassed a wealth of experience in Northern Ireland for both Larne and Ballymena.
“He joins a talented U21s squad and will provide stiff competition in the defensive area of the team.”
Balmer, who has 20 caps for Northern Ireland’s under-21 side, played 106 games for his first club Ballymena United and then joined Larne on a full-time basis as mentioned earlier.
While naturally disappointed to lose the talented central defender, Larne manager Tiernan Lynch wished him well as he enters the world of full-time football in England.
“We’re obviously disappointed to lose a player of Kofi’s quality but this is a move he has very much earned,” Lynch told the Larne website.
“He is a quality young player and someone who has demonstrated that throughout his time at the club. He has been an important part of our defence during his Larne career, and has also popped up with some important goals.
“Kofi came into work every day with a determination to improve his game and has got his reward with this next step on his journey,” he added. “He has a great attitude and that will serve him well for the rest of his career.
“We wish Kofi all the very best at Crystal Palace and will obviously be watching on as his career continues to progress.”