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Crystal Palace taking a gamble on this 31-year-old free agent star wouldn’t be so smart

Why Crystal Palace should avoid signing Ezequiel Schelotto

According to claims from Tuttomercatoweb (h/t Sussex Live), Crystal Palace have been credited with an interest in right-back Ezequiel Schelotto, who is currently a free agent following the expiry of his contract with Brighton

Championship outfit Watford are understood to be in the race to sign the 31-year-old while Italian duo SPAL and Genoa, as well as Turkish giants Besiktas, have also been mentioned among the potential suitors for the full-back. (Tuttomercatoweb h/t Sussex Live)

Profile

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ezequiel Schelotto completed his development at Velez Sarsfield and Banfield in his homeland before starting his professional career with Cesena in Italy. The right-back spent several years in Italy, featuring for several clubs like Catania, Sassuolo, Atalanta, Inter Milan, Parma, and Chievo.

Calciomercato, la SPAL pensa al ritorno di Schelotto in Italia | Goal.com
Ezequiel Schelotto made just 32 appearances for Brighton across three seasons (Getty Images)

The 31-year-old accumulated a total of 155 Serie A appearances under his belt before embarking on a new journey in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon. He eventually joined Brighton back in 2017 but failed to make an impact.

Schelotto made 20 appearances in the Premier League for the Seagulls during the 2017-18 season and played just 9 league games for the club last season, spending time on loan at Chievo in between. The right-back featured only 32 times for Brighton in all competitions over the course of his three-year spell at the Amex Stadium.

Palace should look at other right-back options

Crystal Palace are yet to bring in a replacement for former academy graduate Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who completed a big-money move to Man United last summer. Roy Hodgson utilised Joel Ward as a regular starter at right-back last season, starting 27 times in the PL, with Martin Kelly playing the role of an understudy.

Ezequiel Schelotto - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
Schelotto has been linked with a free transfer to Crystal Palace (Getty Images)

Ward has started the club’s four opening league fixtures so far this term, but it goes without saying that the Eagles ideally need a specialist option in that department. Ward had a brief injury lay-off last term and Roy Hodgson might once again find himself short of cover should a similar situation arise later on in the campaign. 

However, Ezequiel Schelotto is not the kind of player they should be looking at. The 1-cap Italian international has loads of experience in the Serie A but the fact that he failed to make a positive impression in the Premier League at Brighton means that it would be a big gamble for Palace to offer him a return to England.

Indeed, Schelotto’s availability as a free-agent mitigates the risk factor to a large extent. But at 31, the right-back’s best years seem to be behind him. Moreover, he doesn’t really fit the bill as an upgrade on either Kelly or Ward, meaning that Schelotto would find it quite difficult to challenge for a regular starting role at Selhurst Park.

Transfer deadline day: Brighton confirm €3m Ezequiel Schelotto signing | Goal.com
Source: Getty Images

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Verdict

With Kelly and Ward both 30, Crystal Palace ideally need to look for a young and energetic full-back with a lot of potential as a part of their long-term plans moving forward. Ezequiel Schelotto doesn’t fit the bill in that regard and the Eagles should explore other avenues if they are genuinely looking for reinforcements in that department.

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