Crystal Palace have suffered a potential blow in their pursuit of Fulham midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa ahead of the upcoming transfer window.
The Eagles have been heavily linked with the 25-year-old in recent weeks after a string of impressive displays during a season-long loan spell at Napoli.
However, according to Italian outlet Calciomercato, the Serie A league leaders are keen to sign Anguissa on a permanent basis in January, tying down one of their star performers in 2021/22 for many years to come.
The report claims that Napoli’s sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli is ‘working with the English club’ to sign the £67,000-per-week engine room operator as they aim to secure their first Scudetto since 1990.
But his fortunes have dramatically changed after making the switch to Italian football over the summer.
The Cameroon international has been one of the standout performers in Serie A since moving to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in June, playing a pivotal part in the Azzurri’s rise to the top of the table.
As per WhoScored, the tough-tackling midfielder has averaged two tackles per league game, 1.1 interceptions and 1.3 clearances for Luciano Spalletti’s charges.
But he’s also heavily contributed to his new side’s attacking play as well. In his ten top-flight appearances, Anguissa has averaged 0.9 key passes, a whopping 2.3 dribbles per game and a 91.5% passing accuracy.
His eye-catching displays for Napoli have caught the eye of several impressed onlookers, including his manager.
“That kind of physicality and stamina is normal in the Premier League, whereas in Italy we tend to favour other characteristics. We were lacking that aspect at Napoli, so he stands out here,” said Spalletti.
“He always comes into the locker room and talks about what happened in the first half, what was going on around his position, paying close attention to the movements that the opposition do. He is very tactically intelligent.”
It’s believed that his parent club are hoping to receive a £20m fee for Anguissa’s services, although with his contract set to expire in the summer of 2022, they could be willing to compromise.
If Palace chairman Steve Parish is unable to fend off the competition, then Patrick Vieira is likely to be left gutted at missing out on his transfer target in consecutive windows, leaving his charges light on numbers in the centre of the pitch as a result.