Recent reports have seen Crystal Palace linked with a move for Burnley gem Dwight McNeil, with the winger seemingly set for a departure from Turf Moor following the club’s relegation from the Premier League last term.
As per Sky Sports, the Eagles – along with West Ham United – have made an approach to the Clarets in an attempt to land the promising Englishman, with the report suggesting that the 22-year-old is keen to stay in the top flight.
That being said, the Lancashire club have a ‘strong bargaining position’ as the Rochdale-born gem still has two years remaining on his existing deal, with Vincent Kompany and co also having the option to extend that contract by an extra year.
That has ensured that it could take more than £15m if the Championship outfit are to be tempted into a sale, with the club undoubtedly desperate to keep a player who has been a key figure for them since making his debut four years ago.
While the 6 foot menace clearly won’t come cheap, the potential asking price is still something of a bargain for a player who has already racked up 147 appearances for his current club despite his youth, scoring seven goals and providing 17 assists in that time.
Dubbed a “special player” by journalist Andy Jones, the former England under-21 international dazzled on the flanks under Sean Dyche after breaking into the Burnley first team, proving himself a particular menace with his devastatingly accurate delivery from his left foot.
While the most recent campaign ended in disappointment both collectively and on a personal note – as the £72k-per-week gem provided just one goal contribution in 38 outings – he seemingly fits the profile of a young and hungry player who could thrive under Patrick Vieira at Selhurst Park.
Equally, he could also prove to be the club’s next Wilfried Zaha, with the two noted as similar players according to Football Transfers.
Amid doubts over the future of the Ivorian, who has been linked with Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma, the need to add a potential replacement or heir to the 29-year-old has heightened, with McNeil potentially the man for the job.
Although he may not quite have the rare, fleet-footed gifts of the current Palace hero, McNeil can provide his own threat in the final third, with pundit Jamie Redknapp previously lavishing the youngster with praise due to his “real quality” in possession.
The £16.2m-rated man would also offer something that perhaps Zaha does not in a defensive sense, as he ranks in the top 1% for blocks and the top 2% for interceptions made among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, as well as in the top 12% for tackles made.
A hard-working talent with the quality to match, those at Palace should well be getting excited at the new star they could have on their hands if they can prise the winger from Burnley this summer.
He could well prove to be their next Zaha-like talisman.