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A teenage defender wanted by Crystal Palace and Sunderland is heading instead to the Italian second tier, according to All Nigeria Soccer.

Crystal Palace and Sunderland are just two of the clubs credited with an interest in Abdulmalik Justin Owolabi-Belewu, whose admirers are also said to include Chelsea, AS Roma and Hertha Berlin.

But it is claimed that Owolabi-Belewu will join SPAL on a four-year deal, with an announcement expected imminently.

Neither Crystal Palace nor Sunderland are reported to have followed up their interest with an offer.

FIFA 21 – Official Career Mode Trailer | PS4

FIFA 21 – Official Career Mode Trailer | PS4

Owolabi-Belewu is a product of the London-based Whitecaps Academy and had been on the books of Toronto FC, but is still awaiting his competitive senior debut.

It is likely, therefore, that the 18-year-old would have entered the development sides of Crystal Palace or Sunderland, had he joined either club.

A left-footed centre-back, Owolabi-Belewu has trained with Canada’s national side at various youth levels, but is also eligible for England and Nigeria.

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