After news of a potential deal broke earlier in the week, the transfer of Martin Kelly to Crystal Palace for a £1.5M fee potentially rising to £2M with add-ons has been officially completed today. The 24-year-old defender will now join Tony Pulis' side ahead of their season-opener against Arsenal on Saturday.
Kelly, born just outside of Liverpool in Whiston, graduated from the academy and spent six seasons as a senior player for the club. He made his debut in 2008, coming on for Jamie Carragher late against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League, and went on to make 62 appearances in all competitions for the club he grew up at.
Kelly mostly played with the reserves for the next two seasons, and along the way he headed out on a short-term loan to Huddersfield Town. Then, in 2010, he began to force his way into contention with Liverpool's first team. Unfortunately, injuries soon began to take their toll on his progress.
In February of 2011, he ruptured his ACL. Over the next three and a half years he would suffer a hamstring injury and a second ACL injury, missing 347 days of action and 61 games in total. When he was, briefly, fit enough to play, he rarely looked the promising prospect he had before his injury setbacks.
Shortly before the transfer became official, Kelly took to Twitter to thank the managers from his time at the club along with the fans for their support during his time at Liverpool:
I would like to thank all the managers at lfc for making my wish from the age of 7 come true playing for 1 of the biggest clubs in the world— Martin Kelly (@MartinKelly1990) August 14, 2014
most of all would like to thank the fans for supportin me since my home debut against Lyon oct 2009 even through injuries always by my side— Martin Kelly (@MartinKelly1990) August 14, 2014
There probably isn't a Liverpool fan on the planet that didn't hope Kelly would come good at the club, but with injuries having made that all but impossible, all that's left is to hope he can stay fit and get his career back on track at Crystal Palace. We wish him nothing but the best as he attempts to do so.