10:11am Tuesday 8th January 2013
By Steve Hollis
Crawley midfielder Hope Akpan has signed for Reading today.
The former Everton youngster underwent a medical with the Premier League outfit before signing until the end of the 2015-16 season.
Reading are expected to pay Reds about £300,000 for his services, although that fee could rise with add-ons.
Akpan joined Crawley on a free transfer at the start of last season and was due to run out of contract at Broadfield Stadium this summer.
Boss Richie Barker had tried to convince the former Everton player to sign a new deal before Christmas but talks stalled.
Reds had rejected an offer from a Championship club prior to their FA Cup tie with Reading at the weekend but accepted an improved offer from the Royals. If the 21-year-old had left in the summer Reds would only have been entitled to compensation set by a tribunal.
Barker said: "No manager likes to sell his best players but we received a very good offer from Reading and this is also a great move for Hope personally.
"Reading had obviously been looking at him before last Saturday’s FA Cup tie and judging by his performance in that game they clearly decided he was good enough to become part of their Premier League squad.
"Hope has come on leaps and bounds when you consider that he wasn’t a regular in League Two last season. He has got himself very fit, worked extremely hard at a lot of aspects of his game and all the management staff here at the club should take credit for the work we have done with him because it has helped him get a move into the best league in the world and we wish him all the best.”
Meanwhile, Crawley have rejected a second offer for defender Kyle McFadzean from an unnamed Championship club. McFadzean signed a new three year deal at the start of the season but Reds' resolve will be tested if the club - believed to be Bolton Wanderers - return with a third offer which meets their valuation.
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