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Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace should gamble on Ahmed Musa after World Cup triumph

Jamie Watts

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Leicester City‘s forgotten man, Ahmed Musa, set the world alight with his sensational display in Nigeria’s 2-0 triumph over Iceland, becoming his nation’s all time top-scorer after bagging an emphatic brace. And Crystal Palace should really take notice.

Musa failed to score a single Premier League goal last term, before being sent back to former club CSKA Moscow in January. But today’s showing was the 25-year-old at his brilliant best, and he’s reminded us all what he’s capable of.

His performance for the Super Eagles should attract the interest of their club namesake.

The Eagles are in serious need of attacking reinforcements this summer, having flirted with relegation under the winless tenure of ex-boss Frank de Boer but Wilfried Zaha’s timely return from a long-term injury, rejuvenated the squad and Roy Hodgson eventually cemented an 11th place finish.

However, another long-term stint in the treatment room for the Ivorian could cause collapse at the club, and Musa could take the reins as the creative, counter-attacking spark behind the physical presence of Christian Benteke – who notably managed a meagre three goals himself.

Not only that, but along-side Zaha, the two could wreak havoc against Premier League defences in Roy Hodgson’s fast counter attacking style, and he could begin showing his best form in England for the first time since his arrival.

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Crystal Palace

Khouma Babacar would be underwhelming solution to Crystal Palace’s striker problem

The 25-year-old isn’t exactly a prolific goalscorer.

Max Cohen

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Babacar
Photo: Getty Images

According to the Mirror, Crystal Palace are close to completing a £12 million move for Sassuolo striker Khouma Babacar.

The Senegalese forward scored just six goals in the league last season and would represent an underwhelming solution to Crystal Palace’s striker problem.

Last season, the Eagles struggled massively for goals, with only central midfielder Luka Milivojevic reaching double figures in the league. As for strikers, Christian Benteke scored just three goals in a hugely disappointing year, and Alexander Sorloth failed to score in his four appearances.

It is clear the south Londoners desperately need a prolific centre-forward in order to succeed in 2018/19, yet Babacar simply is not the right choice.

(Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images)

At 25 years of age, he has already been around Italian football for a long time, making his debut for Fiorentina in 2009 as a 16-year-old. Yet he struggled to nail down a starting spot and spent time on loan in Serie B and La Liga before enjoying a breakout season for Fiorentina 2016/17.

In that year, he banged in 10 goals in 22 league appearances while also netting four times in the Europa League. Yet disappointingly, he scored just four times in the first half of 2017/18, before being shipped off to Sassuolo on loan where he found the net on just two occasions in 13 appearances.

Far from an outstanding goalscorer in Italy, it is unclear where Babacar would fit in at Palace, and it is unlikely he could turn around the fortunes of the club’s struggling strike force.

Roy Hodgson would do well to pass on the signing of the £12 million Senegalese international and focus his efforts on a more proven striker with a better goal record.

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Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace fans should praise Roy Hodgson’s defiant Andros Townsend comments

The winger has been attracting interest from Premier League rivals.

Max Cohen

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Andros Townsend
Photo: Getty Images

In early July, Sky Sports reported Newcastle United were in talks with Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend over a return to St. James’ Park.

Yet, Roy Hodgson’s defiant comments have quashed those rumours and will be greeted by Palace fans as a strong signal to other clubs who have aimed to buy the Eagles’ best players.

Speaking in a press conference (h/t football.london) over the weekend, the Palace manager made it clear he had no intention of selling his key squad members.

“[Townsend] has got three years on his contract, and we have no interest at all in selling Andros Townsend. We are not a selling club at the moment, far from it.

“We are working very hard to keep the players we have got, and players of big importance, and Zaha and Townsend are right up there as players we want to keep.”

(Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Hodgson deserves praise for this strong stance, as he is sending a clear signal to rival clubs who aim to pinch settled players.

Townsend was crucial to the club’s resurgence last season under Roy Hodgson, and after Bakary Sako’s departure, the need to hold on to attackers is even more important.

By rebutting the advances of Newcastle and clubs interested in Wilfried Zaha, Hodgson not only boosts the confidence of the fans, but also the Palace players.

Knowing that your club aims to hold on to your fellow teammates means the side will be better and more exciting to play for.

Hodgson has already saved Crystal Palace from relegation, and now his stewardship can lead the club to the top half of the Premier League by keeping hold of the Eagles’ star performers.

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Crystal Palace

One winner and one loser as Bakary Sako rejects new Crystal Palace contract

The 30-year-old has rejected a new deal at Selhurst Park.

Max Cohen

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Bakary Sako
Photo: Getty Images

Earlier this week, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson confirmed that winger Bakary Sako had rejected a new contract at the club.

The news came as a shock for many supporters, as Sako enjoyed a bright 2017/18 season at Selhurst Park and the club wanted to secure his services for the immediate future.

Sako is set to lose out from rejecting a new contract at the Premier League club, but one player who could be poised to benefit is rumoured transfer target Ollie Watkins.

Winner: Ollie Watkins 

According to The Sun, the 22-year-old Brentford winger has been linked with an eight million pound switch to south London, and Palace will be sure to pursue his signature even more vigorously after losing out on Sako.

Watkins is a dangerous winger who impressed last season at Griffin Park, scoring ten goals and notching five assists in 45 appearances for the Championship club.

A move to the Premier League beckons for the exciting winger, and due to Sako’s rejection of his contract, Watkins is set to benefit and could fill the Malian’s void.

(during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Burnley at Selhurst Park on January 13, 2018 in London, England.

Loser: Bakary Sako 

Just as teammate Yohan Cabaye bafflingly failed to extend his contract at Selhurst Park, Bakary Sako is set to make the same misguided decision.

At 30 years of age, few Premier League clubs are set to offer the Malian international a chance to play at the highest level. Palace had gifted Sako with a perfect opportunity to play more years in the top flight, but Sako turned them down.

His decision is especially confusing given the good form Sako had last season, scoring crucial goals against WatfordLeicesterBurnley, and Brighton from December to January before succumbing to injury.

A fan favourite at Selhurst Park, Sako will be missed both on and off the pitch, making his departure all the more foolish.

 

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