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Crystal Palace must secure Demarai Gray as a Townsend alternative

According to The Guardian, Crystal Palace have set their sights on signing Demarai Gray, who appears set to leave Leicester City this week.

What’s the word?

Gray has been frozen out of the first-team picture at Leicester by boss Brendan Rodgers and is being chased by clubs across Europe as they seek to secure his services for a cut-price fee.

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The versatile forward, who is out of contract at the King Power Stadium this summer, has also been linked with a move to Bayer Leverkusen. The Bundesliga giants are believed to have made an approach for Gray but it’s unlikely a move to Germany is on the cards following his swift rebuttal.

As per the report, Roy Hodgson’s side have now entered the race to sign the uncapped Englishman. They are willing to integrate him into his plans for the second half of the season by reaching an agreement with his representatives regarding a move to Selhurst Park.

Imagine Gray and Eberechi Eze

Born in Birmingham, Gray joined Leicester for £5m from the Blues back in 2016 and was part of the squad that famously won the Premier League under manager Claudio Ranieri.

After impressing for Ranieri, the 24-year-old has featured 40 times for Brendan Rodgers over two seasons but has made just one solitary appearance in the Premier League so far this season. In all competitions so far, he has tallied a total of 169 appearances across all competitions for the Foxes.

Palace are crying out for a new winger right now, especially after Jeffrey Schlupp succumbed to injury. When he is fit, and with Eberechi Eze already a regular starter and Andros Townsend providing competition for places, the Eagles are actually quite well-stocked out wide.

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However, Schlupp hasn’t featured since the start of the year as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury. Although he will be sidelined for at least three months, the Ghanaian is still expected to be a part of Hodgson’s plans when he makes a comeback, having scored two goals in 15 top-flight appearances this season.

The future of Townsend, though, remains up for debate as his contract is set to expire in the summer. It appears that Hodgson is open to the prospect of making further additions to his options out wide with one eye on the future.

Given his age, there’s no doubt that Gray, who earns around £55,000-per-week at the King Power Stadium, ticks plenty of boxes for Palace as a fully-fledged professional who still possesses plenty of untapped potential. Rodgers previously praised him for his “excellent” display after he dazzled during a brief cameo back in 2019.

Last season, the attacking midfielder managed to score two goals and supply three assists from just three starts in the top flight, averaging 1.1 shots per game, via WhoScored. For context, that’s more than Townsend himself has managed this season (0.9), which suggests that he could provide more of a cutting edge for the Eagles.

Capable of playing on the left, on the right or in the midfield, his ability to play in three positions across the midfield would be an added bonus for Hodgson.

AND in other news, Crystal Palace can sign their next Scott Dann in Stoke City’s Nathan Collins

Article title: Crystal Palace must secure Demarai Gray as a Townsend alternative

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