Why Crystal Palace should reignite interest in Marcus Tavernier
Back in May, a report from the Daily Mail had mentioned Crystal Palace among the potential suitors for highly-rated Middlesbrough midfielder Marcus Tavernier. Watford, Burnley, and Brighton were also believed to have discussed the 21-year-old in the summer window, but nothing came of those rumours, with Tavernier staying put at the Riverside Stadium.
Born in Leeds, Marcus Tavernier started his footballing education at Newcastle United before switching boats to join Middlesbrough’s academy at the U-14 level. He initially caught the eye for Boro’s U-18 side and then progressed to the U-23s before making his first-team bow in the Championship back during the 2017-18 campaign.
Tavernier was loaned out to MK Dons in League One for the second half of the 2017-18 season to enhance his development. The versatile midfielder played a bit-part role for the Teessiders in the following campaign before going on to establish himself as a key player last term following the appointment of Jonathan Woodgate.
The 21-year-old bagged 3 goals and 5 assists in 37 appearances in the Championship last season and has once again hit the ground running this term, starting all of Middlesbrough’s five opening league fixtures so far. Tavernier has also represented England at U-19 and U-20 levels.
Palace would benefit from Tavernier’s potential
Crystal Palace made some smart acquisitions in the summer window, with Eberechi Eze coming through the door alongside Michy Batshuayi on loan and Nathan Ferguson on a free transfer. The Eagles also roped in Jack Butland from Stoke City and Nathaniel Clyne on a free transfer before the domestic deadline to wrap up their business.
The arrival of Eze, in particular, can be seen as a real coup and a clear attempt from Palace to restructure their midfield moving forward. The former QPR fits the bill as an exciting young creative midfielder with a bright future. The Eagles ideally need another player in a similar mould to challenge the ageing legs in their midfield.
James McCarthy (29), James McArthur (33), Andros Townsend (29), and Luka Milivojevic (29) are not getting any younger while Max Meyer has failed to live up to the expectations. Roy Hodgson has experimented with Jairo Riedewald in the midfield but the Dutchman has been well below par over the past few months.
To put things into perspective, Palace need to start planning for the future, and reigniting interest in Marcus Tavernier would make sense for a number of reasons. The 21-year-old has long been regarded as one of the most exciting up and coming talents in the Championship and has shown significant improvement over the past year or so.
One of Tavernier’s key assets is his versatility to play in multiple roles in the midfield and across the forward line. The Middlesbrough graduate started off as an out-and-out winger but has often been utilised in a No.10 role, in central midfield, and also as a wing-back in his senior career.
Hodgson’s liking for utility players has been well-documented over the years and the youngster could well evolve into a star for the Eagles under the veteran gaffer’s stewardship.
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Still only 21, Marcus Tavernier is certainly not the finished article just yet, but he seems to have the talent and potential to cut the mustard in the Premier League moving forward.
Crystal Palace raided the Championship for top prospects like Eze and Ferguson in the summer and a potential deal for the Boro graduate would represent a continuation of the same policy.