Player who swapped West Brom for the Premier League is released after eight minutes

Nathan Ferguson, the luckless defender who has spent most of his senior career fighting injuries on the sidelines, has been let go by Crystal Palace at the end of his contract. The West Brom academy product burst onto the scene under Slaven Bilic in 2019 and quickly made himself a fixture in the starting XI, operating on either side of defence as Albion set an early pace.

Come the midway point in the campaign, though, and speculation began to intensify. Premier League clubs were interested in Ferguson, who only had a year left on his contract and whose departure would likely mean a tribunal to determine how much Albion - as the club who developed him - would receive. The Baggies did strike a deal with Palace, but complications in the medical saw the move collapse.

The deal was resurrected in the summer of 2020, during the Covid pandemic, but Ferguson has had next to no luck after a series of injuries put paid to his chances of becoming a regular in a Premier League outfit. After signing, Ferguson played just eight minutes of top flight football - back on Boxing Day in 2021, when the Eagles were turned over 3-0 by Tottenham Hotspur.

Ferguson most recently made a return to action in March when he appeared in the PL2 for Palace under 21s in a 3-1 win over Stoke City and he completed half an hour. Before that, the defender had also appeared in a 4-2 defeat at Liverpool under 21s last October. Ferguson has constantly had to contend with hamstring and Achilles tendon issues.

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“It’s an injury which is going to keep him out for a period of time,” then manager Roy Hodgson revealed when Ferguson was ruled out of the back end of last season. “It’s a muscle tear. I was here when the club brought him to the club. We were very excited about him coming to the club — we thought we had a little diamond on our hands.

“What has happened to him over these three years has been a real tragedy. It’s been particularly tough for me to take this time, seeing the disappointment he’s now got to come over once again, because, for two weeks, he was training out there and was looking good.

“I had no warning that he was going to pick up another fairly serious injury, which is nothing like that one which kept him out for years. He’s going to have to be very tough. The club will help him as much as we possibly can. I know the players around him will because he’s a popular figure at the club, but for him, personally, that’s a real mental challenge to come over.

“This time, we felt: ‘You’re ready now. You can start seriously knocking on the door and asking for a place in the team.’ To suddenly find yourself out now until probably next season, that’s a tough, tough ask. I hope he can get over it and gets the support he needs. We will do all we can. We’re really, really disappointed for him – he doesn’t deserve that. Everything he’s done deserved a better fate than this one.”

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