Crystal Palace had the oldest squad in the Premier League before Patrick Vieira was appointed at Selhurst Park in 2021, and the recruitment strategy since the manager’s arrival has championed a more youthful approach.
Indeed, the squad is still rich with experienced players but the rising stars in the team have been the difference over the last season with Michael Olise, Odsonne Edouard, Tyrick Mitchell and Marc Guehi just a few of the young players who have been making their mark in South London.
However, there is certainly still plenty of room for improvement as the Premier League campaign so far has been tough for the Eagles with only six points tallied up from their first seven league outings leaving them teetering on the edge of the relegation zone in 17th.
As a result, Vieira could take a look at his young academy players rising through the ranks in hope of a golden opportunity to break into the senior team at Selhurst Park, and one player who could be the perfect heir for veteran midfielder James McArthur is Malachi Boateng.
The talented 20-year-old ace is currently on loan with Scottish Championship side Queen’s Park and is thriving in his new role in Scotland, scoring one goal and delivering one assist from his defensive midfield position over his seven appearances so far.
Boateng was the recipient of huge praise from the Crystal Palace U23’s manager Shaun Derry after he won Crystal Palace’s U23 Player of the Year award back in 2020:
He said: “A midfielder who has so many strings to his bow… He shows aggression, he shows quality on the ball, he can get around the pitch – wins the second ball and can dictate play.”
The youngster has made 53 appearances in the defensive midfield role but his capabilities to also offer an attacking threat with goal contributions could make him the perfect central midfielder to succeed McArthur, who is currently suffering injury issues and coming to the latter stages of his career.
Like the young Palace gem, McArthur is aggressive in his defensive duties, acting as the midfield metronome in the middle of the park. Boateng would appear capable of doing that, but crucially possessing the tools to do well offensively too.
With that being said, Vieira should be keeping a close eye on the youngster’s development with Queen’s Park over the coming months as he could become a very useful player in the senior team back in London, helping them to potentially save millions on improving their midfield depth next summer.