Roy Hodgson must encourage Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish to sign Jean-Ricner Bellegarde from Strasbourg amid interest from West Ham United.
According to Foot Mercato, Hodgson wants to strengthen his midfield in the winter transfer market whilst the club currently are exploring several options including Derby County wonderkid Jason Knight and Fenerbahce midfielder Ozan Tufan.
And it’s now been revealed Palace are reportedly eyeing up a move for Bellegarde and have already reached out to his representatives.
However, they will face stiff competition for his signature, as West Ham are also keen on landing the 5 ft 5 in speed demon in the January transfer window, who has previously been described as a powerhouse by Ghana Soccer.
Bellegarde was heavily linked with the La Meinau exit in the summer, as he had attracted interest from a host of top European clubs, including Serie A giants Fiorentina. But a move failed to materialise in the end and he ended up staying with Strasbourg instead.
The £3.6m-rated 22-year-old joined the Ligue 1 club from RC Lens for a reported €2m fee (£1.8m) in 2019. Since then, he has provided one goal and one assist in 46 appearances across all competitions for Thierry Laurey’s side, via Transfermarkt.
The box-to-box midfielder primarily plays in a deep-lying role but has demonstrated on occasion that he has the capacity to roam further forward, having bagged seven goals and five assists during his time at RC Lens.
With James McCarthy tipped to leave Selhurst Park, Hodgson will be well aware he will need to find a suitable replacement sooner rather than later.
And Bellegarde is arguably the calibre of player who could be the perfect fit for Palace – in 16 top-flight appearances this season, the defensive-minded midfielder is averaging 1.8 tackles per game, via WhoScored.
WhoScored lists his strong tackling as one of his main strengths, which suggests that he doesn’t shy away from a tackle (or two). He’s also averaging 24.6 passes per game (82%), showing he is comfortable at the back and confident on the ball. Just imagine him linking up with new summer recruit Eberechi Eze – it almost doesn’t bear thinking about.
Parish needs to start providing the Palace boss with the right kind of recruitment, namely bringing in fresher, younger players with a bright future ahead of them, and Bellegarde ticks all of the aforementioned boxes. Get it done, Eagles, before it’s too late.
AND in other news, Crystal Palace must avoid signing Newcastle defender Ciaran Clark at all costs…