Reading Football Club are very pleased to announce the signing of young midfielder Hope Akpan.
The 21-year-old has been tracked by us for a number of years since he came through the ranks at Everton, and he joins us from Crawley Town on a three-and-a-half-year contract. Hope already becomes our second signing in the first eight days of the January transfer window.
See Reading FC Player for the very first interview with our new signing - click here to watch.
Manager Brian McDermott is very pleased to have added Akpan to his squad, and believes the midfielder can play in the Barclays Premier League.
McDermott told readingfc.co.uk, "I'm delighted to have signed Hope, we have known all about him for a very long time. He has a great pedigree coming through the ranks at a top Premier League side in Everton, there were a lot of clubs in for him during this window but once he heard of our interest this was the only place he wanted to play. He's 21 and is a player we feel can play at this level."
Of course, Brian has helped unearth a number of gems from outside the top two divisions in his time at Reading, most recently top scorer Adam Le Fondre and the likes of Sean Morrison, Kevin Doyle, Shane Long, Nicky Shorey, Dave Kitson et al - and the opportunity is there for Akpan to follow that path.
Brian said, "He's played more than 50 games for Crawley already, and any of our fans at the game on Saturday will have seen the qualities he brings, he is hungry and will be very committed to our cause. We're delighted to get him and I know our fans will give him every support in his time here."
Hope was immediately given the opportunity to wear a Reading shirt this afternoon, and he played the second half in a friendly against QPR, lining up alongside fellow new signing Daniel Carrico in midfield as we secured a 3-1 victory.
The six-footer made his debut for Everton in the Europa League, and also spent time on loan at Hull before moving to Crawley under Coppell’s directorship and helping them to promotion in his first year at the club. In 46(+14) appearances he scored eight goals for Town.
Also, Hope's age means we do not have to use a place for him in our 25-man Barclays Premier League squad, at 21 years old he is eligible to play in the top flight whilst sitting outside our named squad.
The deal is subject to final ratification of all paperwork from the football authorities but we expect this to be a formality. His squad number will be confirmed in due course and he will train with the full squad for the first time on Thursday.
Go to Reading FC Player now to watch the very first interview with our new signing (free-to-view video clip below), and we'll also have exclusive footage of his Reading FC debut in our friendly win over QPR online on Wednesday.