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Palace must beat Newcastle in Botman race

Crystal Palace have got competition in their pursuit of Lille defender Sven Botman after Newcastle entered the race for a potential January transfer.

The Eagles were linked with a move for the 21-year-old in the summer before eventually opting to sign Marc Guehi from Chelsea in a £21m move and Joachim Andersen from Lyon in a £15.75m deal to strengthen their back line.

Botman ended up staying at Lille despite lots of interest and has continued to impress this season, ranking as their third-best defender this season according to WhoScored ratings.

Despite making just ten appearances in Ligue 1 so far owing to a groin injury, his form has been good enough to keep interested parties sniffing around and David Ornstein claims that Newcastle have made him a priority target for the winter transfer window. While Transfermarkt currently value him at £25.2m, it’s possible Lille would ask for considerably more to lose him mid-season.

Crystal Palace’s decision to opt for different targets this season has failed to really justify itself yet. Guehi has been relatively impressive considering his age and lack of top-flight experience, scoring twice so far. He’s also managed an average of 1.1 tackles, 0.7 interceptions and 3.1 clearances per game under Patrick Vieira.

Should Crystal Palace sign Sven Botman?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Andersen is yet to find the net for his new club and defensively has done relatively well too, averaging 0.9 tackles 1.5 interceptions and 2.9 clearances per game for the Eagles. But with Vieira keen to build a team comfortable in possession an important stat to look at is their pass success, something Guehi edges Andersen in with a percentage of 87.3% compared to 83.7%.

So where would Botman fit in? Likely right alongside Guehi in an ideal world. In an underperforming Lille side he has averaged 0.9 tackles, 0.6 interceptions and a huge 4.6 clearances per game for the current reigning French champions. That all-important passing stat is what’s impressive though, with the currently uncapped Dutchman successfully completing 85.8% of his passes.

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Can you guess which Palace player scored the most goals in all competitions during the season in question? Let's start with 2009/10...

Aerially he is dominant too, winning 2.5 aerial duels a match compared with Guehi’s 1.3 and Andersen’s 1.2 in the Premier League. With his top-flight experience in the Champions League and abilities that dovetail well with the England U21 captain, it could prove to be a formidable partnership for Vieira and for the future of Crystal Palace.

Having been described as a “leader” in the past, it would give Vieira options defensively and with his system, potentially moving to a back three on occasion but ultimately it would just be smart business to bring in another promising and talented footballer to a young and gifted squad.

AND in other news, Crystal Palace must use Eze instead of spending on £6m playmaker.

Article title: Palace must beat Newcastle in Botman race

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