Why Crystal Palace should offer Jairo Riedewald a new contract
The 24-year-old has finally established himself as a key cog in the Eagles’ side after playing a bit-part role over the past two seasons, thus prompting Palace to plot an extension on his current contract at Selhurst Park that runs until the summer of 2022.
Jairo Riedewald rose through the youth ranks of Ajax and made his first-team breakthrough in the Eredivisie during the 2013-14 season. He made enough appearances to collect a winner’s medal as a part of the club’s domestic title-winning squad in his debut season and went on to establish himself in a more prominent role in the following campaign.
The academy graduate starred alongside the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Matthijs de Ligt, Bertrand Traore and Davison Sanchez as Ajax finished runners-up to Man United in the 2016-17 UEFA Europa League. Riedewald amassed 93 appearances in all competitions for the Dutch heavyweights before following his former Ajax boss Frank de Boer to Crystal Palace in the summer of 2017.
However, the Dutchman found himself out of favour in South London after De Boer was sacked just 5 games into the 2017-18 campaign. His successor Roy Hodgson showed little interest in utilising Riedewald, who didn’t make a single Premier League appearance for the Eagles in 2018-19.
Riedewald, though, seized his opportunity midway through the previous campaign following injuries to regular left-backs Patrick van Aanholt and Jeffrey Schlupp. The 24-year-old showed his versatility and produced a string of impressive displays in an unfamiliar role to bag Palace’s Player of the Month award in January 2020.
The 3-cap Dutch international seems to have kicked on this term after featuring 19 times in the Premier League (7 starts) for Palace last season. Ridedewald has started each of the club’s last four league games heading into the final international break of the year and opened the scoring with a fine finish in the 2-1 victory over Fulham.
Riedewald deserves a new deal at Palace
Jairo Riedewald has shown strong signs of promise after a difficult first couple of seasons at Crystal Palace. The 24-year-old broke into Roy Hodgson’s plans towards the back end of the previous campaign and seems to have cemented his place as a regular starter for the Eagles this term.
With James MacArthur (34) nearing his twilight and James McCarthy not getting any younger at 29, Palace should now see Riedewald as a key figure in their attempts to lower the average age of their midfield unit moving forward. Riedewald is also comfortable playing as a centre-back and left-back, meaning he’s a player who offers Hodgson some valuable cover in multiple areas.
To that end, the Eagles should include the Dutchman as a key part of their plans in the coming seasons. He has started to come into his own in the Premier League and is only going to get better with time. Palace should, therefore, not hesitate to reward his rise to first-team prominence at Selhurst Park with a new long-term deal.
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While keeping hold of star players like Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayew and Andros Townsend should be high on Palace’s agenda, they also need some utility operators to maintain the right kind of balance in their squad.
Jairo Riedewald might not be the most dazzling player at Palace but he offers a lot in terms of squad depth and versatility. That should be enough for the Eagles to tie him down to fresh terms.