Crystal Palace eyeing summer swoop for 27-year-old Burnley star – A future leader at the back?

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Why Crystal Palace signing James Tarkowski will be a good move

According to the Mirror, Crystal Palace are planning a raid on fellow Premier League side Burnley for the signing of defender James Tarkowski. The Eagles have identified Burnley boss Sean Dyche as the long-term successor for Roy Hodgson and want to bring in Tarkowski along with him.

Tarkowski is a product of the Oldham Athletic academy. The defender went on to make 89 first-team appearances for the club, before joining Brentford in January 2014. He grew into a key player for the Bees, notching up 74 appearances in two years before Burnley signed him in 2016.

Since joining the Clarets, Tarkowski has grown into one of the first names on Dyche’s teamsheet week in week out, after a difficult initiation. Till date, he has featured 134 times for the club, scoring four goals and creating two.

James Tarkowski barking instructions at teammate (Getty Images)
James Tarkowski barking instructions at teammate (Getty Images)

Crystal Palace, meanwhile, have another steady season under Hodgson. At the time of the suspension of the season, the Eagles were 11th in the Premier League table. With 39 points from 29 matches, Palace are just two points below 8th-placed Tottenham and can finish the season in the top half of the table. In order to build upon this, Palace should look to strengthen their squad this summer.

Crystal Palace backline is solid, but ageing

Defensively, they have been solid this term, conceding just 32 goals so far. Only five teams have conceded fewer goals than the Eagles this term. It is the attacking contingent where they are in need of urgent reinforcements.

However, the club should also look to bring in a new centre-back as well. This is because all but one defender in the Palace squad are aged over 30. Indeed, Mamadou Sakho (30), James Tomkins (31), Scott Dann (33) and Gary Cahill (34) are on the wrong side of thirties. Jairo Riedewald (23) is the only young defender in the squad.

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

Furthermore, Dann’s contract is expiring at the end of the season. In addition, Sakho and Cahill will be entering the final year of their contracts, while Riedewald has hardly been used by the manager this term. All this warrants the signing of a new centre-back at Selhurst Park in the summer.

Having said that, Tarkowski would represent a fine addition for Crystal Palace. The 27-year-old missed just three league matches for Burnley last season and has featured in all the matches this term so far. This is a testament to his fitness levels as well as his importance to the Burnley side.

Furthermore, Burnley are known to be a solid defensive side, despite their poor record this season. And Tarkowski had played an important role in the Clarets earning that reputation over the past couple of seasons.

Burnley defender James Tarkowski in action. (Getty Images)
Burnley defender James Tarkowski in action (Getty Images)

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Verdict

Tarkowski is a proven commodity in the Premier League and has gathered plenty of experience at this level. At 27, he is entering the peak years of his career. He would add more depth and quality to an ageing Crystal Palace backline, and would be primed to take over from Cahill as the defensive leader of the team in a year or so.

Hence, the Eagles should try and lure the England international to Selhurst Park in the summer.