Crystal Palace are believed to be closing in on another summer signing…
According to Sky Sports journalist Anthony Joseph, the Eagles are negotiating a deal for Northern Ireland under-21 international Kofi Balmer, although are yet to agree a fee with his current club Larne.
Writing on Twitter about the Premier League club’s interest in the 21-year-old, the transfer insider wrote: “Crystal Palace are in talks with Larne FC over a potential deal for defender Kofi Balmer. It’s understood that the clubs are still to agree a fee for the 21-year-old centre-back. The Northern Ireland U21 international has two years left on his contract at Larne.”
The promising centre-back – who is also comfortable at full-back – only made the move to Larne from Ballymena last summer on a free transfer, with two years left to run on his existing deal at present.
Although a deal for Balmer is seemingly more of a nod to the future, his prospective capture would represent another fine piece of business for Palace so far this summer, with Patrick Vieira set to be buzzing at the work done by the club to help bolster his squad.
A move for the highly-rated youngster – who has been dubbed “phenomenal” by his manager Tiernan Lynch – would be the fifth summer addition for the south London outfit, having only recently secured the signing of Bayern Munich’s 22-year-old starlet Chris Richards.
There has undoubtedly been a focus on youth for Vieira and co this summer, having also brought in Malcolm Ebiowei (18) and Cheick Doucoure (22), with England international Sam Johnstone (29) the only experienced acquisition thus far.
After the mass exodus of experienced figures last summer, the club are slowly but surely rebuilding the squad in the image of their new manager, with the Arsenal legend seemingly intent on nurturing and developing young talent.
While something of an unknown quantity, Balmer is another gem who could well thrive under the Frenchman’s watch, having already racked up a hugely impressive tally of 134 appearances in his club career despite his relative youth, chipping in with ten goals and four assists in that time.
Competition for a regular centre-back role will be fierce due to the presence of Joachim Andersen, Marc Guehi and the aforementioned Richards, although the Northern Irishman could well be a player to look out for during the 2022/23 campaign.
Vieira will be simply delighted if Palace can get the Larne defender on board.