PALACE WIN RACE FOR WARD
Crystal Palace have won the race to sign sought-after Portsmouth defender Joel Ward, according to Eagles assistant manager Lennie Lawrence.
A number of clubs were thought to be chasing the 22-year-old, with Burnley, Ipswich and Leeds all believed to be interested.
However, Palace have beaten them to the punch, signing Ward on a four-year contract in a deal reportedly worth £400,000.
He leaves relegated Pompey after four years at Fratton Park, during which he notched up almost 100 appearances.
Dougie Freedman's No 2 Lawrence says the Championship club are delighted to have signed the youngster, who can also play in midfield.
"Joel has been a long-term target for Dougie Freedman and this signing is a real coup for the football club," he said.
"We have had severe competition for his signature from other Championship clubs and he spoke to them, as you would expect him to do.
"We are absolutely delighted he has chosen us and we firmly believe that he will be a Premier League player one day.
"He obviously sees us as his best way forward in terms of his career."
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