Crystal Palace should raid Man City to sign Oleksandr Zinchenko
It has been a season filled with ups and down for Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace. The Eagles have had very little to cheer about in what has turned out to be yet another campaign of mid-table obscurity.
Palace currently sit 13th in the Premier League standings with 27 points, level on points with Brighton and Burnley and just three points clear of the relegation zone. While they might breathe a sigh of relief for not being further down the table, the Eagles need to put an end to their fight for relegation season after season.
Despite his age, Roy Hodgson has been a fantastic manager for Palace and he showed a tremendous bit of acumen to snap up Max Meyer as a free-agent in the summer. The German came to Selhurst Park with a lot of reputation and promise but he has found it tough to acclimatise to the Premier League and has failed to establish himself as a regular face in the first team.
The long-term injury to centre-forward Christian Benteke left Palace with a massive void to fill up front. Although Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend have done reasonably well, the Eagles have suffered from lack of creativity in the midfield, with Meyer failing to deliver the goods consistently. James MacArthur, Cheikhou Kouyate and Luka Milivojevic have been pretty solid in dictating the tempo and cutting out the attacks but they cannot be termed as creative midfielders who can light up the scene with something special.
Palace did well to bolster their squad with the loan signing of Michy Batshuayi from Chelsea in January but they need to strengthen even further next summer to enhance their chances of a top-ten finish. To be more precise, they need another lively and versatile creative midfielder in their ranks.
To put things into perspective, Palace should make a move for Man City star Oleksandr Zinchenko ahead of the upcoming season. The 22-year-old Ukrainian international has played a bit-part role in the first-team at Etihad due to the stiff competition for places and the Eagles should make him a top priority next summer in a bid to add depth and quality to their squad.
Even though he was signed from Russian club Ufa back in the summer of 2016 primarily as an attacking midfielder, Zinchenko has thrived at City as a makeshift left-back in the absence of Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph. He made 14 appearances in his breakout season last term and has registered an equal number of appearances so far this season as well.
Zinchenko is a technically-gifted and tactically-versatile player who is capable of playing as a left-back, wing-back, central midfielder and also in the attacking third as a winger or a No.10. Calm and comfortable in possession, the 22-year-old has a nice skill set to go along with his crisp passing, vision, delicious first-touch and ability to create spaces for his teammates to exploit. Add to that his defensive work rate and he can be a really valuable asset to any team in the Premier League.
Zinchenko has got his chances at City from time to time. Not many youngsters have been able to break into the first-team consistently but Zinchenko, with his versatility, has managed to get a fair crack of the whip. While he can certainly continue his development at City, a move to Selhurst Park might help him realise his true potential with more regular minutes.
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Palace would improve massively with a versatile player like Zinchenko in their ranks and that said, they should make an effort to lure him away from the Etihad ahead of the upcoming season.
Time for goodbye? Crystal Palace’s talismanic speedster should leave the club to reach new heights
Crystal Palace opinion: Zaha should leave the Eagles to reach next level
According to a recent report by the Daily Mail, Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha has already informed his representatives within the club about his plans to move on to join a club that regularly competes in the Champions League.
It has been reported that Zaha also met up with club chairman Steve Parish in the week after the league season drew to a close.
Whether or not he’s already informed the chairman of his intentions next term is a question that is yet to be answered, it seems to quite explicit that he desired to step up to the next level of the footballing pedestal next season.
It’s a certainty that multiple top European clubs will be more than keen on the Ivorian’s signature.
His exploits for Palace this season certainly haven’t gone unnoticed and the fact that he stepped up and even performed the role of striker satisfactorily will be an added boost.
The stuttering Palace forwards meant that Zaha was promoted to playing striker in the early months of the season and he delivered the goods consistently.
His figures for Palace has been an absolute dream and an aspiring team such as themselves have him go thank for the position they’re in.
While there are bound to be some changes at Selhurst Park this summer, replacing Zaha will be the most challenging task as he has been their sole creative outlet for a while now.
Having played in 34 league games this season, most of which he started, the Ivorian winger managed to notch up a highly impressive 10 goals and 10 assists and has been far and away Palace’s most standout player of the season.
Alongside Andros Townsend, Zaha has scored some wonder-goals this season and his stock has definitely risen.
He is often utilised by on the right-flank of his attack line by Roy Hodgson but as we’ve seen in this campaign and over the past couple of seasons, Zaha’s versatility allows him to operate anywhere across the midfield or front-line and his numbers as their talisman were quite commendable too.
Able to beat a man using a trick, Zaha’s creative thinking makes a massive threat in the final third, irrespective of whether he’s looking for the killer pass or to finish the move off. Since he’s usually dependable in front of goal, his conversion rate is fairly decent too.
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He offers a wide array of skills and the fact that he’s a season Premier League professional would only make the deal sweeter for whoever signs him.
At 26, this summer will be the right time for him to pursue bigger things and with a number of clubs lining up moves, he could be in for the most exciting summer of his life.
Crystal Palace would do themselves a solid favour by signing this 23-year-old Championship powerhouse
Crystal Palace Opinion: Why Ollie Watkins will be a top addition for Palace?
Back in July 2018, a report from the Evening Standard claimed Crystal Palace were interested in Brentford star Ollie Watkins. But the South London club didn’t firm up their interest and a transfer never happened.
Ollie Watkins, 23, joined Brentford from Exeter City in 2017, having starred in League Two, and he enjoyed a promising first season at Griffin Park. The forward also had a strong 2018/19 campaign, where he scored 10 goals and supplied six assists but couldn’t guide Brentford to the playoffs.
The 23-year-old has shown real potential in the Championship and it won’t be a great surprise if he leaves the Bees for the Premier League in the summer. With Brentford failing to qualify for the playoffs, Crystal Palace must take advantage of the situation and reignite their interest in Ollie Watkins.
A report from the Daily Star claims Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha is linked with a return to his former club Manchester United this summer. Zaha has had a fantastic season at Selhurst Park, supplying 10 goals and as many assists in the Premier League.
The Ivorian is the heartbeat of the Eagles and his potential departure will be a huge blow for Roy Hodgson’s side. Hodgson’s side have already struggled for goals this season and losing Zaha will be catastrophic, as getting a player with a limited budget that can replace the Ivory Coast international will be a stellar task.
Watkins could be the player that can come close to replacing Zaha at Selhurst Park. The 23-year-old, who is equally adept at playing on the left-wing and leading the attack, is one of Championship football’s young, promising and exciting prospects. He can help reduce the goalscoring burden off Christian Benteke and Andros Townsend’s shoulders, while also adding depth to the squad and increasing competition for places.
The former Exeter City prospect has decent pace and skill on the ball and is more than capable of outsmarting the opposition with his sharp turns and intelligent movement in the final third. He has shown in the Championship how destructive he can be with his pace and power down the flanks.
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Watkins has got the qualities to make the step up to the Premier League and become an asset for Palace for years to come. He is more than capable of turning games around with his ability to chip in with valuable goals and assists and at 23, has quite some room for development.
Watkins has a bright future ahead of him and if Hodgson can pry him to South London this summer, it’ll represent a signing of massive significance for the Eagles.
Man United would pull off a brilliant move by signing this highly-rated defensive duo starring for PL rivals – Agreed?
Manchester United Opinion: Why United must sign the Crystal Palace duo?
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made it one of his priorities to strengthen his defence this summer after a miserable end to the 2018/19 campaign. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been linked with the Red Devils for some time now, while interest in Patrick van Aanholt might raise a few eyebrows.
Now that the summer transfer window is open, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should revamp his backline first with the signing of the Crystal Palace duo.
Antonio Valencia has left Old Trafford following the expiry of his contract, leaving United with Ashley Young and Diogo Dalot at right-back. Young came under immense criticism following his dismal performances since the turn of the year. He is at the wrong side of 30 and the 2019/20 season is likely to be his last one in United colours.
Diogo Dalot, signed by former United boss Jose Mourinho from FC Porto, had a decent debut season in the Premier League. The Portuguese full-back showed a lot of promise under Solskjaer, but the Norwegian tactician used him more in an advanced role on the right. That clearly tells Solskjaer still has reservations using Dalot at right-back, with the 20-year-old not yet defensively astute to play in that position.
That’s why a player like Wan-Bissaka will be perfect to succeed Young at right-back. He is regarded as one of the best full-backs in the Premier League having broken into the Palace first-team under Roy Hodgson this past campaign. For his impressive displays, he was awarded the Crystal Palace Player of the Year for 2018/19 season.
As far as Van Aanholt is concerned, the Dutchman also had a successful campaign with the Eagles. He scored three goals and bagged two assists in 36 league games, helping Hodgson’s team finish in 12th position. The 28-year-old is a high-flying left-back, renowned for his explosive pace, direct approach and crossing abilities.
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Aanholt is an experienced player and will bring a much-needed competition for Luke Shaw at left-back.
And whilst the Netherlands international’s attacking prowess has never really been in doubt, he has been suspect defensively at times. Nevertheless, he absolutely fits Solskjaer’s expansive, exciting style of play at United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is desperate to rebuild his squad after ending a forgettable trophyless season. It’s why a double swoop for Wan-Bissaka and Van Aanholt makes a lot of sense, especially with the Red Devils’ defensive problems.
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