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Crystal Palace missed out on World Cup star Ismaila Sarr

Crystal Palace were one of several sides to be linked with Watford winger Ismaila Sarr in the summer and after some strong performances at the World Cup, the Eagles must be regretting not signing him.

The Athletic suggested in August that Patrick Vieira’s side were working on a deal to bring the Senegal international to Selhurst Park as the Frenchman looked to add to his squad following the departure of Christian Benteke.

In the end, no attacking reinforcements were signed by the Eagles, which has almost certainly cost them already this season, with Wilfried Zaha once again shouldering the burden of regularly being the only real goal threat in Palace’s squad.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, Watford wanted £40m for the former Stade Rennais man during the summer and Premier League sides clearly weren’t willing to meet that asking price, so he would remain with the Championship side.

So far this campaign, the 24-year-old has contributed an impressive six goals and four assists for the Hornets in the second tier, averaging a strong 6.96 rating from WhoScored for his performances.

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This would rank him as the third-best performer in Palace’s squad this season, with only Zaha and Eberechi Eze ranked higher, which emphasises the quality that he could have added at Selhurst Park.

Sarr is now catching the eye with Senegal at the World Cup, scoring with an “absolute class” penalty in their win over Ecuador on Tuesday, which sealed the Lions of Teranga’s place in the knockout stages, where they will face England on Sunday.

This will surely only increase Watford’s valuation of the young winger further, which is a cruel blow to Palace if they harboured any hopes of bringing him in during the January transfer window.

Of the members of Aliou Cisse’s squad to start all three games in Qatar, Sarr’s WhoScored average rating of 7.37 is the best, which shows just how important he has been in the African Cup of Nations holder’s progression.

He has averaged three shots, 1.7 key passes and 2.7 dribbles per game in Qatar, which would rank him first in every one of those statistics had he produced the same level of performance for Palace in the Premier League this season.

This would rank him significantly better than Palace’s regular right-wing option Jordan Ayew, whose return of no goals and one assist this season have helped him to a disappointing 6.65 rating from WhoScored.

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So far at the World Cup, the Ghana international has averaged zero shots, 1.5 key passes and 0.5 dribbles per game, so Sarr is clearly the superior winger, so Palace will surely be regretting not paying the money to sign him earlier this year.