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Crystal Palace: Signing Pepe could ease Zaha blow

Crystal Palace look set to be without talisman Wilfried Zaha for a while after getting injured against Newcastle United at the weekend, so Patrick Vieira should aim to bring in transfer target Pepe from Porto.

According to reports from Portugal (via Sport Witness), the south London club sent scouts to the Estadio do Dragao recently to watch Sérgio Conceição’s side beat Familicao 4-1.

Pepe was thought to be the centre of Palace’s attention, with the Eagles having been linked with the 25-year-old in 2022; and considering his impressive performances so far this season, it is easy to see why Vieira would be keen on bringing him to Selhurst Park this month.

In 17 appearances for Porto, the winger has contributed two goals and four assists, averaging an impressive 7.13 rating from WhoScored for his performances.

Considering that this would comfortably rank him as the top performer at Selhurst Park had he achieved the same rating in a Palace shirt, there seems little to suggest that he wouldn’t be a good addition to Vieira’s squad this month.

Since the World Cup break, the Eagles have managed a measly four goals in seven games, so it seems clear that attacking additions should be a priority for the club this month, especially after Zaha’s injury last weekend.

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The 30-year-old was forced off with a hamstring injury in the second half against Newcastle and he now looks set for a spell on the sidelines ahead of a tricky fixture period which includes games against Manchester United, Brighton, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Considering that no player in Palace’s squad has contributed to more goals in the Premier League so far this season, with Zaha leading the way with six goals and two assists, the Eagles could quickly find themselves slipping down the table if he is not properly replaced.

Therefore, signing a creative player such as Pepe could be crucial in keeping Vieira’s side away from any relegation battle in the second half of the campaign, as his strengths of key passes, dribbling and through balls (according to WhoScored) suggest that he could help to unlock the Eagles’ attacking potential.

The 25-year-old – who is becoming increasingly “important” to Conceição at Porto according to ESPN commentator Fernando Campos – is clearly a creative outlet, and Steve Parish should definitely consider bringing him to Selhurst Park this month following the bad news on Zaha.