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Crystal Palace held talks over £7m deal for 28-year-old ace – Should they revive their interest this summer?

Why Crystal Palace should make a move for Omar Elabdellaoui

Back in July 2019, the Daily Mail had claimed that Crystal Palace held talks with Olympiacos over a deal for £7million defender Omar Elabdellaoui. However, no deal materialised last summer.

Omar Elabdellaoui of Olympiacos FC runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Olympiacos FC and Bayern Muenchen at Karaiskakis Stadium on October 22, 2019 in Piraeus, Greece. (Getty Images)
Omar Elabdellaoui of Olympiacos FC runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Olympiacos FC and Bayern Muenchen at Karaiskakis Stadium on October 22, 2019 in Piraeus, Greece. (Getty Images)

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.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Manchester United during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Manchester United at Vitality Stadium on November 02, 2019 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Getty Images)
Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Manchester United during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Manchester United at Vitality Stadium on November 02, 2019 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Getty Images)

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.

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson. (Getty Images)
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson. (Getty Images)

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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.

Verdict

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.

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