Palace starlet is eighth signing of the summer
Luton Town manager Nathan Jones has today completed his eighth signing of the close season after attacking midfielder Jake Gray joined the Hatters on a two-year deal from Crystal Palace.
The 20-year-old arrives at Kenilworth Road on an initial free transfer, with a contingency sum due to the Premier League Eagles if he is sold in the future.
Gray joins Alan Sheehan, Danny Hylton, Johnny Mullins, Christian Walton, Glen Rea, Jordan Cook and Isaac Vassell in bolstering the Town squad since the end of last term, and boss Jones was delighted to get Aylesbury-based player’s move tied up to complete his summer business.
Gray spent six months on loan in Sky Bet League Two with Hartlepool last season, and Jones told lutontown.co.uk: “We watched Jake a lot last year. Mick Harford went up to keep an eye on him at Hartlepool and he did really well for them.
“We identified our targets really early and Jake is one that we’ve been chasing since April.
“It’s taken some time. There was a lot to get over the line, but it’s been worth it because we’ve completed our squad now and I’m sure Jake will prove an excellent signing for the club.
“There were a number of clubs that showed an interest in him. We initially thought we might get him on loan, but when we knew that Palace were willing to do something permanent, we jumped at the chance.
“He ticks all the boxes for us and fits into the criteria for players we want to bring to Luton. We are delighted to have him.
Gray started his career as a schoolboy with Wycombe, before Palace swooped for him in the summer of 2012 when the Chairboys closed their academy.
He made his debut for the Eagles in a League Cup tie against Walsall in August 2014, but his Football League debut came after joining Cheltenham Town on loan in January 2015. Ironically, it arrived in a 1-1 draw against the Hatters at Whaddon Road.
Gray made four appearances for the Robins before returning to Selhurst Park, but gained extensive League Two experience on loan at Hartlepool, where he scored six goals in 30 starts and three substitute appearances last term.
“It feels great to be here,” said Gray ahead of this afternoon’s official team photo at Kenilworth Road. “I’m delighted to get it done and I’m looking forward to pulling on the Luton Town shirt.
“Nathan showed me the plans for the club with the new training ground, and he said how good it was to play in front of these fans – how it’s always packed.
“He’s got a lot of good plans for the club and he showed me how he wants me to play. It really opened my eyes to think this is the right place for me.”
*Subscribers to Hatters Player will be able to see the full interview with Jake later today