Crystal Palace are reportedly interested in signing Sheffield United defender Rhys Norrington-Davies in January and the Wales international could be a big upgrade on Tyrick Mitchell in Patrick Vieira’s side.
According to Football Insider, Palace, Leicester City and Bournemouth are all keen on signing the versatile defender in the January transfer window after his impressive performances for the Blades in recent seasons.
After a number of loan spells away from the club at Barrow, Rochdale, Luton Town and Stoke City, Norrington-Davies was finally able to establish himself as a regular in Sheffield United’s side last season, making 26 appearances in all competitions.
This season has seen the 23-year-old feature 15 times in the Championship, helping Paul Heckingbottom’s side to third in the second tier, having been re-invented as a wide centre-back at Brammall Lane.
Should he make the move to Selhurst Park in January, he could challenge at left-back or centre-back, having played in both positions regularly in his career thus far.
Given that Vieira boasts a solid centre-back partnership of Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen already, it seems unlikely that Norrington-Davies would feature there unless the French manager switched to a formation with three centre-backs, so the Welshman would likely compete with Mitchell at left-back.
While the 23-year-old enjoyed a strong 2021/22 campaign which saw him called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad, he has disappointed so far this campaign, averaging a shocking 6.44 rating from WhoScored which sees him ranked as the 12th-best performer at Selhurst Park.
Mitchell is sound defensively but struggles to offer much in an attacking sense, which is emphasised by his FBRef scouting report, as he ranks in the 2nd percentile for shots, 16th percentile for shot-creating actions and 31st percentile for progressive passes received across Europe’s top five leagues, which shows that he doesn’t go forward often.
Norrington-Davies, although he is compared with other centre-backs, scores in the 70th, 98th and 99th percentile in the same metrics across the next eight best leagues (those outside the top five), which shows that he loves to get forward and contribute in attack.
The defender, who was described as “exceptional” by Wales manager Rob Page, could offer something very different in Vieira’s squad as he aims to add an attacking upgrade to his arsenal.
Therefore, the French manager should definitely look to bring him in after the World Cup.