Following a poor start to the season, it is no surprise to see Crystal Palace linked with various transfer targets. New manager, Frank de Boer, has suffered defeat in both Premier League fixtures; including a 3-0 loss to Huddersfield Town on their Premier League debut.
The Dutch coach appears determined to use a 3-4-3 formation, something the players at his disposal are clearly struggling with. While it is far too early to slur either personnel or tactics, reinforcements would certainly offer greater flexibility and cover the side in the event of future injuries.
The latest player linked with a move to Selhurst Park is Scottish international Oliver Burke. The Guardian report that Palace will bid for the 20-year-old, who was left out of the RB Leipzig squad at the weekend. He is valued at around £15 million.
Burke is a product of Nottingham Forest’s youth system and previously worked under Dougie Freedman, Palace’s recently appointed Sporting Director. He was sold last summer to the ambitious German side but played a fringe role as they attacked their way to 2nd place on their maiden Bundesliga campaign.
Despite holding his place in the squad and making 25 league appearances, the youngster was used predominantly off the bench, getting an average of 25 minutes per showing. The season started brightly as he registered an assist when first brought on and scored on his first start. However, only four more starts followed and his recent exclusion from the squad suggests he is surplus to requirements.
Frank de Boer and Crystal Palace could well become beneficiaries of the situation, with the possibility of gaining a versatile young attacker for a fair price, given the transfer fee inflation seen this summer. Freedman is well placed to influence the decision and is more aware than most of Burke’s potential.
Given the poor start and the manager’s preference of 3-4-3, there is little doubt that Burke would improve the squad, adding to the limited options of Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend (who has been linked with a move away, by the Daily Mail) and Bakary Sako. Upfront the situation is no better, with Christian Benteke the only fit senior forward. The targeted young Scotsman can play in all three positions.
That flexibility could prove crucial for a limited squad and Burke would be a good addition. The biggest doubt over the 20-year-old is regarding his ability to step up and be a regular starter for a team in the top-flight – something he is yet to do.