Exclusive - Crystal Palace are shocked and furious that they stand to lose promising 16-year-old attacking midfielder Zion Atta, who has signed with super agent Mino Raiola and is determined to move abroad to a club in mainland Europe.
Atta joined Palace’s academy ranks from fellow London side Millwall and the Eagles had offered him a scholarship and a professional contract for the future.90min has learned that Palace even envisaged Atta making the first-team bench within the next 12 months and have been completely taken aback by his decision to move on.
Palace thought they had an agreement with the player and his family and did not see this coming. Things have now changed and Atta has informed the club of his desire to leave England altogether amid the interest from a number of European giants.
Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City are the top Premier League sides that have shown interest in the Italian-born youngster, but he is now expected to shun all of them in addition to Palace.
90min understands that Roma are favourites to secure his signature. Juventus, AC Milan and Inter have also been monitoring him for several years, while there there has been interest elsewhere from Ajax, Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven and Borussia Dortmund.Palace were aware of the interest from other Premier League sides and from those further afield, but they did not think that Atta would leave them at this very early stage of his career.
Atta has been capped by England at Under-16 level, but returning to Italy potentially also gives the FA a problem because the Italian federation are confident that he would switch allegiance.
Atta’s deal with Raiola, who is famous for representing the likes of Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Erling Haaland, is thought to only last for one year initially.