Why signing Nathan Ferguson will resolve Crystal Palace’s defensive woes
According to Football.London, Crystal Palace are renewing their interest in West Bromwich Albion defender Nathan Ferguson.
Back in January, the Eagles were on the verge of bringing the young centre-back to Selhurst Park. However, a medical problem diagnosed in the last minutes hindered the 19-year-old’s move to the Premier League.
Ferguson has been impressive for the Baggies in his maiden Championship outing, making as many as 21 appearances in the league. His eye-catching displays at the back for West Brom had forced the likes of Palace and Tottenham to go in pursuit of the defender.
With the deal not materialising earlier, the Eagles are now back in the hunt for the in-form defender. Despite, being so young and playing top-level football for the first time, Ferguson has become a vital member of Slaven Bilic’s side, helping them to second place in the Championship table.
He has been part of West Brom’s 11 wins out of their overall 19 wins in the league this time, signifying his worth within the current line-up. Predominantly a centre-back, Ferguson has mostly been used as a wing-back by Bilic and he has done a commendable job so far.
This shows the player’s versatility, which would be of real help to the Eagles if they succeed in bringing him home. The Eagles, on the other hand, have issues to solve at the back and manager Roy Hodgson would be well aware of that.
They have an ageing backline, with four out of their five centre-backs already past their thirties. Crystal Palace also have a major problem in the left-back role, with first-choice man Patrick van Aanholt being the lone player in that position.
What makes it even worse for Palace is the fact that Van Aanholt is currently injured and out of the side after sustaining a knock in December. As of now, his return is unknown and Palace’s pursuit of young Ferguson makes complete sense in such a scenario.
Also, Ferguson’s ability to play across any position in the back-four could be a blessing in disguise for Hodgson’s side, who also have ageing players in the right-back spot.
Right-backs Joel Ward and Martin Kelly are in their thirties, and are not in their prime anymore. Ushering in someone young as Ferguson will definitely add more confidence to a backline which is sure to slow down in the coming days.
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Ferguson’s arrival will strengthen an already aged Palace defence and add more energy and vigour into their game. Moreover, he is still very young and could flourish under Hodgson if a deal works out in the summer. Also, given Palace’s injury issues at the back, this looks like the best chance to bring him to Selhurst Park.