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Bye-bye Batshuayi: Hodgson must push Crystal Palace to sign Reims striker Boulaye Dia

Reims striker Boulaye Dia has admitted he is flattered by reported interest from Premier League clubs including Crystal Palace, according to France Football.

What’s the word?

Reports emerged in the past month suggesting that Roy Hodgson’s side were lining up a potential bid for the Reims forward in the January transfer window, and judging by his latest comments, it appears that their interest hasn’t gone unnoticed.

He said: “It’s a new source of motivation (to be linked with some of Europe’s biggest clubs). It’s always flattering – but you have to stay focused.

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How old was Wilfried Zaha when he joined the Crystal Palace academy?

“You hear too many things. Your name is everywhere.”

The 24-year-old has been in prolific form for the French side, providing 14 goals and one assist in 25 appearances across all competitions, per Transfermarkt.

Bye-bye Michy Batshuayi?

The 3-cap Senegal international centre-forward, who is currently valued at £10m via Transfermarkt, is one of the hottest properties in French football after an outstanding season and Palace are likely to face stiff competition if they wish to secure his services. Dia finds himself on the radar of Serie A giants AC Milan and has also been linked with moves to Arsenal and West Ham in recent months.

Whether a move to Selhurst Park is still on the cards, however, is another matter entirely after Palace signed French striker Jean-Philippe Mateta from Bundesliga side Mainz on an initial 18-month loan with the option to make the move permanent.

However, with Michy Batshuayi set to return to Chelsea after his loan spell expires at the end of this season, the Eagles may look to bring in Dia as an alternative.

Indeed, in Dia, Hodgson could find a suitable replacement, if not an instant upgrade on Batshuayi, who bagged six goals in 13 games during his first stint at Selhurst Park, but has struggled to replicate that form at club level this season. The 27-year-old has only managed to find the back of the net once in 17 appearances in his second spell so far, surely putting any potential permanent move in doubt.

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Who is this obscure former Palace player?

In comparison, Dia – who is three years his junior – has largely picked up where he left off last season, having scored seven times in Ligue 1 before the campaign was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, per Transfermarkt.

A return of 12 goals this season sees him ranked fourth in Ligue 1 in a leaderboard topped by none other than Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe, via WhoScored.

He’s also averaged a whopping two shots per game in the top flight, which is more than the likes of Christian Benteke and Eberechi Eze – Batshuayi doesn’t even come close to those kind of numbers as he is averaging just 0.7 shots per game in the Premier League this season.

If Hodgson can encourage Palace chairman Steve Parish to dip into his pockets, then he should sanction a move for Dia as soon as possible.

AND in other news, Crystal Palace have struck gold with Eberechi Eze

Article title: Bye-bye Batshuayi: Hodgson must push Crystal Palace to sign Reims striker Boulaye Dia

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