Crystal Palace have joined the race to land Derby County wonderkid Jason Knight, according to The Daily Mirror.
Knight, 19, finds himself embroiled in a bidding war as Palace face stiff competition from Premier League rivals Burnley and West Ham.
It’s claimed Roy Hodgson has put the defensive-minded midfielder at the top of his shortlist in the January transfer window despite the fact his contract is set to expire in the summer of 2023 after he signed a new deal with Derby this time last year.
The Republic of Ireland international, who has already won three caps for his country, has produced nine goals in over 50 appearances for the Rams across all competitions, via Transfermarkt.
While Jairo Riedewald has been a total revelation since the start of this season thus far, Hodgson could soon face a shortage of options in the midfield.
Club captain Luka Milivojevic is in a spot of bother after allegedly breaking Covid rules, while his current first-choice partner James McArthur has entered the final six months of his current deal, and James McCarthy has been heavily linked with the Selhurst Park exit amid interest from Celtic.
There are certain similarities between Knight and McCarthy, 30, who has made 40 appearances for Palace so far. Both are fearless in the face of any opposition with the youngster demonstrating a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
However, unlike his fellow countryman, the Irish teenager, who earns around £4,000-per-week at the Pride Park Stadium, has shown an affinity for finding the back of the net – since the start of the season, he has bagged three times in 24 appearances for the club in all competitions.
Despite his age, his attacking output is already levels above the kind of numbers McCarthy provides on a consistent basis – on average, he produces 35.6 passes per game at a pass success rate of 81.9%, whilst he is showing levels of maturity far beyond his years.
Interim Derby boss and Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has tipped him for the very top. He told RamsTV: “I’ve been really impressed with the way they’ve trained, particularly Knighty. His energy, his attitude. He almost reminds me of myself when I was younger in terms of no fear. And he’s got an aggression about him, not in terms of how he’s tackling, but in terms of how he runs, how he gets about the pitch. I’m looking forward to see how they do as I feel he can give us a lot of energy and a lot of creativity.”
Both comfortable on the ball and confident in possession, his ability to dictate play would be most welcome at Selhurst Park. However, Palace chairman Steve Parish may have to break out the cheque book, as it’s unlikely he will come cheap.
AND in other news, Crystal Palace must avoid signing Hodgson’s centre-back target at all costs…