Palace poach wonder Wharton.

Palace poach wonder Wharton.

The day that no Blackburn Rovers fan hoped for, has arrived, as lifelong supporter and youth academy graduate, Adam Wharton has swapped Lancashire for London, by making a permanent transfer to Crystal Palace in an undisclosed deal, confirmed to be a record sale for Rovers, in the region of around £18m-£22m, including potential future incentives.

Adam has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with the South Londoners.

The 19-year-old, who made 51 appearances in all competitions for his hometown club – and netted the opener in a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town in his final game for Rovers – departs after just over one full season integrated within the first-team, with his immense talent being too much for the Premier League riches to ignore causing Steve Parish to cough up a reported eight-digit sum, which has seen Wharton become Rovers’ record sale, eclipsing the £18m that Manchester City paid for Roque Santa Cruz in 2009.

Having been at the club since the age of six, Wharton stormed through the ranks at Brockhall and wowed all areas of the youth setup with his technique and eye for a pass, despite his slender build. The midfielder, who followed older brother Scott, into the youth ranks at Ewood Park continued to show immense composure as he was soon fast-tracked through Rovers’ youth systems, before being given his first-team debut by current boss, Jon Dahl Tomasson in a 4-0 home win over Hartlepool United in the Carabao Cup in August 2022.

Despite his eye-catching talent and control of the ball, Wharton spent his maiden professional season as a fringe player as he began to cope with the demands and rigours of the first-team, playing against established professional, yet by the start of the current campaign, his connection with the support base and his impressive performances, both in and out of possession landed him a starting berth in Tomasson’s team, despite still being a teenager with less than 50 league games under his belt. Having already signed two contract extensions at Ewood Park, after his original professional terms back in February 2022 – with the first coming in September 2022 and the second only at the start of December 2023 – the midfielder’s pathway to the Premier League certainly became beneficial to both Wharton and Rovers.

Whilst the Crystal Palace midfielder is stacked with experience and technique with the likes of Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise, Will Hughes,  Cheick Doucouré and Jefferson Lerma, to name a few, Wharton will no doubt take the bull by the horns to learn & hit his potential under former Rovers boss, Roy Hodgson, whilst also having the platform to further showcase his not-so-secret talent.

With Rovers already having seemingly scuppered their chances to bring in players with the incoming money, before Thursday’s deadline, it is a wonder how Rovers will react to this, both on and off the pitch, given the ongoing financial uncertainty, Indian court cases and dark clouds that seemingly hang over Ewood Park. With the potential necessity to sell for such a fee, the higher echelons within Rovers will now have to deal with the expectation of a fanbase rapidly losing patience with their club.

Although Wharton’s departure is a loss for Rovers, there is no doubt amongst the fans that the youngster will take to the Premier League like a duck to water and be able to showcase the qualities that have forced many scouts to visit Ewood Park over the past few years. Furthermore, with his international career already underway, having earnt eight caps for the Three Lions at Under-19 and Under-20 level, many Rovers supporters will keep half an eye on their homegrown talent to see whether he can make that final jump into the senior team as he develops at the highest of levels and potentially breaks into the England setup.

Everyone connected with Rovers wish Adam well for the future and see him off with no hard feelings or grudges, despite his obvious affinity to the club as he leaves his brother Scott, behind. Despite being at such a tender age, Adam’s incredible talent and ability to assist has arguably worked against Rovers, despite the eight-figure sale.

Good Luck, Adam! ?
Once a Blue, Always a Blue! ??