Bristol Rovers-linked player leaves Crystal Palace for Belgian club

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Jake O’Brien – linked with a move to Gas earlier this summer – has joined a Belgian club.

The 21-year-old was linked with a loan move to Gas earlier this summer but opted to join the Belgian second division outfit instead.

Molenbeek is owned by Palace co-owner John Textor, which made the process easier. O’Brien has become the second player to leave Selhurst Park for Molenbeek after striker Luke Plange was also sent there.

O’Brien was on loan at Swindon Town last season, playing regularly for Robins as he helped them reach the League Two play-offs, but they fell short after losing to Port Vale. This season he has played for Palace’s Under-21 side and has won wins against academy side Brighton and Man United.

O’Brien told the Palace club’s official website after the move: “Playing in Belgium will be a new challenge, but I’m really up for it. “It may be difficult at first, but I will work hard to establish myself in the Molenbeek team and continue from here.”

League One side Barnsley had been vying with Rovers for the signing of centre-backs, but both sides have been signing in this area in the summer.

Joey Barton has reunited with Everton defender Lewis Gibson, whom he worked with at Fleetwood Town, while James Connolly has been signed on a permanent basis from Cardiff City after a successful loan spell.

Barnsley – managed by former Cheltenham manager Michael Duff – have meanwhile signed Conor McCarthy and former Bristol City defender Robbie Cundy.

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