Crystal Palace left it late to complete their January transfer business with a deadline day deal to make Jean-Philippe Mateta’s loan spell at Selhurst Park a permanent one as well as the signing of 19-year-old Derby County striker Luke Plange.
Having managed to score a goal and provide an assist in his four previous Premier League games for the Eagles, it’s safe to say that they have seen enough in him to make his loan deal permanent.
However, even though he’ll be spending the remainder of the current season trying to keep Derby in the Championship, Palace’s swoop for Plange could actually be the more exciting one for the club and their fans.
Since joining the Midlands club, the striker has racked up a total of 13 goals in 27 appearances across their U18, U23 and senior sides, showing how highly rated he is there and how capable he is of finding the back of the net at a relatively young age.
According to a report on the youngster by The Athletic, Plange said when he was younger that he wants to be “the next Cristiano Ronaldo,” which just goes to show the sort of ambition he has to try and replicate the same sort of impact and career of one of this generation’s greatest players.
Looking at the striker’s clear knack for scoring goals and the fact that current Derby manager Wayne Rooney will know an awful lot about the Portugal icon from their time playing together at Manchester United, he will be very much aware of the teen’s talents and what he could offer Palace next season.
Moving forward, with the Englishman set to join Patrick Vieira’s squad at the end of the season, this will give the Palace boss the starting point to see if the January signing has what it takes to make the step up to the Premier League, potentially following in the footsteps of Ronaldo, which would be a mouth-watering prospect for the club and fans in equal measure.
Of course, it is a stretch to compare the two definitively but he has already achieved something the great CR7 failed to do, score on his debut in English football.
Given the advanced age of both Christian Benteke and Jordan Ayew, as time goes on, the former Arsenal youth player could find it easier to play regularly in the team at Palace if he makes the most out of any opportunities he gets to impress Vieira.