Reading have completed the signing of Crawley Town midfielder Hope Akpan on a three-and-a-half year contract.
The 21-year-old joined the club in the summer of 2011 from Everton where he had come through the Toffees’ youth system. He has since gone on to make 60 appearances for the League One club scoring eight goals.
Despite having no Premier League experience and only two Championship appearances to his name during a loan spell at Hull, Royals boss Brian McDermott believes Akpan can comfortably make the step up to the top flight, admitting that he has been an admirer of the midfielder for quite some time.
"I'm delighted to have signed Hope, we have known all about him for a very long time," he told the club's official website.
"He has a great pedigree coming through the ranks at a top Premier League side in Everton, there were a lot of clubs in for him during this window but once he heard of our interest this was the only place he wanted to play.
"He's 21 and is a player we feel can play at this level."
Akpan becomes the club's second signing of the January transfer window and McDermott was keen to play up what the midfielder could offer the side in the coming months having already given the fans a taster after facing them in the FA Cup third round game on Saturday at the Broadfield Stadium.
He added: "He's played more than 50 games for Crawley already, and any of our fans at the game on Saturday will have seen the qualities he brings, he is hungry and will be very committed to our cause.
"We're delighted to get him and I know our fans will give him every support in his time here."