Frank de Boer’s tenure as Crystal Palace manager has endured an abject start, with three consecutive Premier League defeats sending the Eagles spiraling into the bottom three.
Transfer deadline day may bring some much needed relief to the club, particularly with the Independent reporting that Palace may be on the verge of signing Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho for a fee that could ultimately equate to £30 million. This deal alone may not be enough to improve de Boer’s fortunes, with more signings required to improve the Dutchman’s squad and enable him to implement his fluid passing style.
So, here, The Boot Room identify three players that Crystal Palace should look to sign before the summer transfer window closes:
Worryingly, Palace are the only top-flight team that has yet to score a Premier League goal so far this season, with an out-of-form Christian Benteke serving as the club’s only fit first-team striker.
With Connor Wickham continuing to recover from an ACL injury and Fraizer Campbell having departed during the summer, Palace seriously need to invest in some firepower if they are start winning games and compensating for an increasingly porous defence.
Reports in The Sun suggest that this has encouraged Palace to enter the race for Everton outcast Oumar Niasse, who is not a part of Ronald Koeman’s plans at Goodison Park. The powerful forward, who impressed during a loan spell at Hull last season, may be a little similar to Benteke and it is debateable whether he would suit de Boer’s preferred style of play.
A more intriguing option would be outgoing Arsenal striker Lucas Perez, who according to the Daily Mail is on the verge of completing a loan move to Deportivo. Although de Boer would need to move quickly to hijack the deal, Perez would provide some much-needed movement and guile to a Palace forward line that has looked bereft of ideas so far this season.
On the subject of Palace’s defence, Sakho may not be the only addition that would help to make the Eagles more difficult to beat.
Back in July, The Telegraph reported that Palace had made a £16 million bid for Arsenal’s versatile defender Calum Chambers, who can operate at either right-back or in the centre of the defence. While this bid was rejected and Palace have not returned since, he would add some much-needed depth to the Eagles’ backline while introducing a little pace and Premier League experience.
While the talented young defender’s career has stalled under the weight of frequent injuries and a pronounced lack of game time, he performed well while on-loan at Middlesbrough last season and underlined the quality that he first showed as an academy product at Southampton.
Whether Palace have left it too late to make their move has yet to be seen, but Chambers is the type of player who could make a big difference to the club’s fortunes.
Munir El Haddadi
While de Boer’s philosophy relies heavily on wingers, the Dutchman requires his wide players to play narrower and regularly drift into central areas. Andros Townsend has struggled with this approach so far, while the enforced absence of Wilfried Zaha has left Palace short of adequate options on the flanks.
While the Eagles lost out to West Brom in the pursuit of Oliver Burke, Mundo Deportivo have reported that Palace are one of several clubs chasing Barcelona’s talented forward Munir El Haddadi. Adept at playing as part of a narrow forward three and drifting in from wide areas, he would be perfectly suited to de Boer’s system and could make an instant impact at Selhurst Park.
Leicester City’s 21-year old winger Demarai Gray has also been linked with a move to Palace, with Sky Sports understanding that de Boer is a fan of the former Birmingham City star. While Gray is arguably more of a traditional winger with genuine pace and direct running skills, he boasts an enormous amount of skill and could be deployed to good effect from the right flank.
Munir would probably be the preferred choice, particularly given his pedigree, versatility and the style of play that he possesses.