Crystal Palace are earning a reputation for developing some of the top young talents in the Premier League and Patrick Vieira could soon have another top talent on his hands in Zach Marsh.
The Eagles have helped develop the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Tyrick Mitchell and Aaron Wan-Bissaka from their academy in recent years, while also signing and progressing exciting youngsters such as Marc Guehi, Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise.
Palace poached Marsh from Watford’s academy earlier this year and the teenage forward has clearly impressed during his seven months at Selhurst Park, as he was rewarded with his first professional deal this week.
The striker has already registered one goal and three assists in just five games for Rob Quinn’s U18 side and will no doubt be an important player in the academy for years to come, before hopefully making the step up into the first team.
Ability and attitude do not seem to be any problem for Marsh, as academy director Gary Issott spoke highly of the youngster after he signed the contract.
He said: “Zach is a talented forward who has worked hard to earn his first professional contract. Though he only joined the club in February, he has adapted well to life here in south London.
“He has hit the ground running this season for the U18s and he will no doubt press on in the season ahead and beyond.”
Given that Palace’s main striking options of Odsonne Edouard, Jean Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew have just three Premier League goals between them so far this season, developing a striker with an eye for goal should perhaps be a matter of priority at Selhurst Park, especially if top scorer Wilfried Zaha departs at the end of his contract next summer.
Therefore, Vieira will be hoping that Marsh can join a long list of players at Palace to come through the academy and make an impression in the top flight, and signing his first professional deal is undoubtedly a big step towards that dream.