Patrick Vieira nearly won against Liverpool at Anfield and led his side to a two-goal advantage against Manchester City, although they eventually lost 4-2, the game is all about fine margins and Palace are certainly a team that could be one to watch this season.
The Frenchman has recruited solidly this summer, adding Cheick Doucoure, Chris Richards, Sam Johnstone, and young talent Malcolm Ebiowei but with a few days left of the window, there could be another one or two additions.
With the club officially launching a bid for Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher to boost his options in the middle of the park, Vieira should also be doing everything he can to sign fellow countryman Houssem Aouar with whom the Eagles registered an interest in earlier this month.
Their first four league matches have seen the London side net six goals so scoring doesn’t seem to be a problem. However, adding in a creative player such as Aouar, who can play either as a ten or out wide, would be a shrewd move for Vieira.
The £60k-per-week talent is still just 24, though, it feels like he has been around for a lot longer than that. Andy Brassell once described him as someone who “should become something special” in 2018 and his talent was destined to take him to the top.
Indeed, last season Aouar certainly demonstrated that he can be special on his day, scoring eight times and registering four assists as Lyon struggled to a disappointing eighth-place finish, missing out on European football this season.
He could add some competition to the Palace midfield area and using the security of a solid defence behind him and Doucoure alongside him, he can get the freedom to roam free and contribute heavily to the team’s attack.
The similar player model on FBref has compared Aouar with Brazilian star Philippe Coutinho and the two have very similar play styles. Both are goalscoring attacking midfielders who love the creative freedom to display their skills, and this is backed up by the 13 goals scored between the pair last season.
In terms of shot-creating actions, Aouar (3.67 per 90) and Coutinho (3.44) both show willingness to produce opportunities as often as they can. They are also rather similar when it comes to driving forward with the ball, as the former registered 7.30 progressive carries over a distance of 141.5 yards per 90 minutes. As for the Villa sensation, he registered identical yardage but amassed 8.19 progressive ball carries.
The Frenchman is a better passer statistically, with a completion rate of 87.3% compared to the Brazilian’s 82.8%, but this could add another dimension to the Palace attack.
Following his loan move to Aston Villa in January last season, Coutinho had an immediate impact on the side, netting four times and grabbing three assists in his first nine matches. If Aouar links up with Vieira at Palace, he could well make a similarly devastating impact, meaning this signing is an absolute must.