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Cork City agree deal to sell teenage striker Franco Umeh to Crystal Palace


Cork City forward Franco Umeh, left, in action recently against Dundalk

Cork City forward Franco Umeh, left, in action recently against Dundalk

Cork City forward Franco Umeh, left, in action recently against Dundalk

Cork City have agreed a deal with Crystal Palace for the sale of promising teenager Franco Umeh.

Independent.ie reported last Friday that a delegation from the London club had travelled to watch the 18-year-old play in a pre-season friendly with Dundalk.

As expected, firm negotiations kicked off in the aftermath and a move has been thrashed out which sees Umeh move in the January window - the Leesiders were keen to keep hold of the versatile attacker until the summer but the Premier League club want to integrate the recruit into their underage set-up immediately.

Umeh signed professional terms last year which included a contract with a €75,000 release clause.

That has been activated to facilitate the switch but the League of Ireland side have managed to get several lucrative add-ons in place in the event that Umeh eventually breaks through at Palace.

It also includes a provision for reward if he wins international caps.

Umeh has impressed for the Ireland U-19 side but also qualifies for Nigeria so the arrangement covers an eventuality where he represents either country.

City are keeping on top of this angle with dual qualified performers given that transfers of Irish players would generally include a reference to Irish caps in the future.

However, the recent sale of David Harrington to Fleetwood - the Cork-born netminder who Wales are trying to recruit to their ranks - highlighted the need to cover all bases.

Fringe player Leon Ayinde is also expected to leave Cork and take up an opportunity with Ipswich's U-23 side but he was not in Healy's immediate plans.

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Meanwhile, Drogheda United have announced the loan capture of Lincoln pair Elicha Ahui and Freddie Draper.

It's a continuation of a relationship between the clubs that was struck up last year when Lincoln loaned Scot Sam Long and Dubliner Sean Roughan to the Boynesiders.

Roughan has since returned to play regularly for Lincoln who were satisfied with how the players benefited from the experience and they have now sent midfielder Ahui (18) and striker Draper (18) to Ireland to gain first team experience. Draper has already featured for Lincoln's first team.

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