Why Crystal Palace should make a move for Omar Elabdellaoui
Omar Elabdellaoui, 28, has been one of Olympiacos’ best players this season, racking up a goal and an assist in 38 appearances across all competitions. He has been a crucial part of Olympiacos’ backline as they hold a seven-point lead at the top of the table.
The right-back, who arrived at the Karaiskakis Stadium from Eintracht Braunschweig in 2014, will be a free agent at the end of the season. Keeping that in mind, Crystal Palace must reignite their interest in Elabdellaoui and attempt to sign him on a free transfer this summer.
The Eagles failed to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who joined Manchester United before the start of the season. Wan-Bissaka was outstanding last year for Crystal Palace and is considered as one of the best defensive right-backs in the Premier League. He has been one of Manchester United’s best players this season, playing 26 out of 29 league games.
Wan-Bissaka’s departure has left a huge void in Palace’s squad, with Roy Hodgson starting the season with Joel Ward at right-back. Even though Ward has performed well amidst injury problems, the fact is that he has entered his 30s and cannot be considered as a long-term solution in that position.
While Hodgson can turn to Martin Kelly if things don’t go right, neither of them can match the brilliance of Wan-Bissaka at Selhurst Park. Having said that, Hodgson should strengthen his right-back area in the summer by bringing in Omar Elabdellaoui.
Elabdellaoui has already had two spells in England, with Manchester City and Hull City but he really made a name for himself in Greece with Olympiacos. He has made over 100 appearances for Olympiacos, gaining rich experience in the Champions League as well. The Norway international of Moroccan descent can play as a right-back, as a right wing-back and as a right-winger. His versatility will be a major plus for Hodgson’s side.
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At the age of 28, he is operating at the peak of his powers and has proven himself in the Greek league. Truly, Elabdellaoui would fill the void left by Wan-Bissaka, whilst adding cover and competition for Ward and Kelly at Selhurst Park next season. On a potential free transfer in the summer, he would be a smart addition to Palace’s defensive ranks.
With Ward set to be 31 in October and having endured injury problems this term, Hodgson would be wise to recruit a new right-back this summer. And Elabdellaoui should be that player for Palace.