Crystal Palace were linked with Leicester City midfielder Boubakary Soumare during the summer and the Frenchman’s recent strong form suggests that he could have been the ideal man to partner Cheick Doucoure in Patrick Vieira’s midfield.
It was suggested that Vieira could bring the out-of-favour 23-year-old to Selhurst Park during the summer transfer window but in the end he would remain with Brendan Rodgers’ side.
After a difficult start to the season for the Foxes, Soumare has come into the side and been a big reason for their upturn in form, which has seen them distance themselves from a relegation battle in the Premier League.
The former Lille man has averaged a 6.66 rating from WhoScored for his performances in the top flight but has earned above a 6.8 rating in each of his last six appearances in all competitions, which have returned five wins, one draw and a remarkable six clean sheets.
Therefore, he has clearly been an integral part of Rodgers’ side in recent weeks and it would be very difficult to see the Foxes selling Soumare to a Premier League rival in January unless they receive a significant fee, which suggests that Palace may well have missed the boat on the talented young midfielder.
When the Frenchman originally made the move to the King Power Stadium in 2021, he earned a huge amount of praise from Ligue 1 expert Ian Holyman.
He said: “He’s a powerful midfielder, he was at PSG as a youth, actually took a bit of a leap of faith in his own abilities and decided not to sign his first professional contract with them when he turned 18 and moved to Lille which was a bold move at the time but it does tell you something about his character and he was quite right to have faith in his own abilities.
“I think he played a pretty significant role with Lille’s first team over the last three years, perhaps not quite so much in their title-winning season, he was a bit in and out of the side but when he first came into the team he looked very, very good indeed.
“As I said, he’s a powerful guy, 6ft 2ins, really athletic, but he’s also got ability on the ball. He’s not just about being a midfield destroyer.”
Palace’s last fixture before the World Cup break saw them lose out 1-0 against Nottingham Forest, with Vieira deploying Jeffrey Schlupp and Michael Olise alongside Doucoure in midfield.
Neither of those options can be described as natural central midfielders, which suggests that the Eagles are lacking another young player with the sort of attributes that Doucoure possesses, as the Mali international has been too often found holding the centre of the pitch by himself.
Therefore, considering Soumare’s excellent recent form, Vieira will surely be regretting not pushing harder to sign the Leicester man during the summer.