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Crystal Palace in the hunt for Ludovic Ajorque

Crystal Palace are reportedly eyeing a move for Strasbourg striker Ludovic Ajorque, although they will face competition from clubs across the Premier League.

What’s the word?

According to Football Insider, the Eagles have been named as one of the clubs who are interested in landing the 28-year-old this summer, alongside Newcastle United and Leicester City, with the trio set to watch him in action in a pre-season friendly against Liverpool this weekend.

The Frenchman – who still has two years remaining on his deal at his current club – could well be allowed to leave in the coming weeks, with the report suggesting that he is keen to make a move to England.

Previous reports have outlined that the Ligue 1 outfit will demand at least €15m (£13m) for his signature in the current transfer window, having signed the towering forward for just £2m from Clermont in 2018.

Benteke’s heir at Palace

That move could well see Palace finally land a long-term heir for long-serving striker Christian Benteke, with the Belgium international likely coming towards the end of his time at the club with just a year remaining on his existing deal.

Although Patrick Vieira does have both Odsonne Edouard and Jean-Philippe Mateta as additional centre-forward options in his current squad, neither is seemingly of the same mould as Benteke, with the Eagles in need of an imposing and colossal figure who can eventually replace the 31-year-old.

Should Palace sign Ajorque?

Yes please!

Yes please!

Not for me!

Not for me!

This is where Ajorque comes in, with the 6 foot 6 giant offering that real focal point in attack and providing a much-needed goalscoring touch. The “complete” menace – as described by his manager Julien Stephan – scored 12 goals and provided eight assists in 36 league outings last season, after netting 16 league goals in the campaign prior.

Of those 12 strikes, six of them came via his head, showcasing a strong aerial presence similar to that of the aforementioned Benteke, with the former Aston Villa man trailing only Peter Crouch (40) for headed goals in Premier League history, having netted 33 thus far.

In a defensive sense, Ajorque also uses his physique to good effect, with the £14k-per-week brute notably ranking in the top 10% for aerial duels won among those in his position across Europe’s five big leagues, and in the top 3% for tackles made.

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That record somewhat mirrors Benteke’s, with the 45-cap Belgian ranking in the top 5% for aerial duels won, as well as in the top 1% for clearances made – a metric in which Ajorque ranks in the top 14%.

For all the youthful, attacking energy that Vieira has at his disposal, having an experienced head in tow such as Ajorque could well provide a useful attacking alternative, with it wise to have a more robust presence who can lead the line and pose a real handful for defenders, as Benteke has been in recent years.

AND in other news: Fabrizio Romano reveals huge Crystal Palace development, supporters will be buzzing

Article title: Crystal Palace in the hunt for Ludovic Ajorque

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