Crystal Palace could be set to battle with a European heavyweight over the signing of a club captain…
According to French outlet Foot Mercato, Rennes are preparing for the loss of their skipper Hamari Traore.
Having also been linked with a sensational return for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, a move for the offensively-inclined Traore would make much more sense for a young, creative team which is keen to play free-flowing and exciting football.
Despite moving for Chris Richards earlier this summer, signing a club captain who appears to possesses many of the attributes necessary to succeed with Patrick Vieira’s philosophy is a no-brainer for the Palace manager.
The 46-year-old will be hoping that he could use his potential new signings at right-back to challenge one another for a starting berth and to see Richards develop alongside the experienced Rennes stalwart.
The 30-year-old featured 33 times in Ligue 1 last season and chipped in with three goals and an astounding ten assists from right-back. He ranked joint-sixth for most assists in the whole league, not far behind the likes of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.
Slotting him in just behind Michael Olise, drifting inwards and creating space for Traore to deliver to one of Jean-Phillippe Mateta or Odsonne Edouard sounds like a dream for Vieira, who could finally get some joy out of his two hulking strikers.
Labelled an “instrumental” player for his team, Traore has also been recognised for his defensive qualities. Indeed, Palace proved against Liverpool last Monday night that they can also be dogged and resolute as well as full of swagger and skill.
Unsurprisingly, the £13k-per-week machine ranked in the top 9% for progressive passes per 90 and the top 3% for assists among right-backs in Europe’s top five leagues in 2021/22. His remit clearly revolves around his offensive output, and Vieira will delight at this prospect when potentially vying for the move.
To sign a player with this much talent and who has the leadership qualities to be entrusted with the captaincy would mark a real coup for the Eagles, who would be bringing in the perfect full-back for Vieira to utilise now and help mould Richards into a star of the future.