According to Olè, Crystal Palace are amongst a number of clubs interested in signing River Plate right-back Gonzalo Montiel – West Ham, Inter Milan, Roma, Real Betis and Valencia are among those who are keen to sign him.
Well, the 4-cap Argentina international is a key man for Marcelo Gallardo.
Montiel has made 20 appearances in all competitions for River Plate this season, grabbing two assists in 19 league outings.
The 23-year-old has a €20m (£18.5m) release clause in his contract with the Argentinian giants.
West Ham made an offer of €10m (£9.3m) in January for the full-back’s services, although that was swiftly rejected by River Plate who do not seem keen to lose Montiel unless someone activates his release clause, in which case they would have no say in the matter.
Crystal Palace only have one natural right-back at the club in Joel Ward, a man who has made 20 Premier League appearances this season – Martin Kelly can cover that role, although he is better suited to centre-back.
The former Portsmouth man – who briefly lost his place to Aaron Wan-Bissaka before Manchester United signed him – averages 1.9 tackles per game in the Premier League this term, and also registers just 0.2 key passes. Ward is not an attacking right-back in any sense whatsoever.
To compare him with Montiel, the Argentine slightly edges him in the tackling department by making two tackles per game this season, while the in-demand River Plate man also completes 1.1 key passes per game in Argentina’s top-flight.
These two areas are key departments for a modern-day full-back, so it is telling that Montiel betters Ward in both areas.
Of course, there are bound to be differences between Argentina and England’s top-flight, while the fact that River Plate are one of the best teams in Argentine whereas Crystal Palace are not among the best in England should also be noted.
However, Montiel is clearly in Sporting Director Dougie Freedman’s sights for a reason – he appears to be better than Ward, and is clearly quite good given the amount of clubs interested in him.
In other news, Dougie Freedman is wrong to be put off by this player who “makes the game look easy” after his valuation was revealed…