Crystal Palace have added another young, talented Londoner to their books in Marc Guéhi.
Joining the likes of Eberechi Eze (Greenwich) and Michael Olise (Hayes) – not to mention longer-serving figures like Nathaniel Clyne, Wilfried Zaha and a range of Academy boys – Guéhi has stuck to his roots in putting pen to paper with Crystal Palace.
Having grown up in Lewisham, the club’s latest arrival makes it clear to Palace TV that he knows where he’s from.
“[I was] born in the Ivory Coast, born in Abidjan, came here at the age of one and lived in England all my life. I grew up mainly in Lewisham, so I know the area. I obviously moved closer to where I was at Chelsea but I’m a London boy and know exactly what it’s about to be a London boy.
“When you’re from south London, it’s really exciting. You know what the feel’s about, what the fans are about and you have that real connection.
“[Selhurst Park] is one of the stadiums in the Premier League that has the best fans, always rocking there. A fantastic atmosphere, so I’m hopefully going to experience that one day.”
The 21-year-old defender says he knew Eze, Olise, Nya Kirby and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi before making the switch to SE25 from his time with former club Chelsea and England. And it was with the the Young Lions that Guéhi enjoyed one of his career highlights: winning the Under-17 World Cup.
“That was a fantastic experience,” he says looking back while at St George’s Park. “Just to be a part of something like that so young in the England setup, playing with some of the best young talents with the likes of Phil Foden, who plays for [Manchester] City, and Jadon Sancho. It was fantastic for me personally.”
When you’re from south London... you know what the feel’s about, what the fans are about.Marc Guéhi
Guéhi spent most of his career in south-west London with Chelsea. Having joined the Blues aged seven, the centre-back admits leaving the club after such a long period was a significant decision.
But Palace made it worth making: “I’m very excited. It’s a great opportunity for me to come to such a big club in the Premier League. I’m really excited to get going.
“I think it was the direction that the club’s taking, a really exciting direction with the new gaffer that’s come in. A lot of good young players are here and obviously such a stable club with top players really enticed me and made me want to come here.
“[Patrick Vieira] speaks for himself. The player he was, the way he conducts himself and even recently as a manager, he has a really good record. When he was at Nice he did some really good work there and I’m really excited to work with him.”