An update has emerged regarding Crystal Palace’s transfer plans for Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah.
According to The Athletic, the Eagles backed away from a potential deal to sign the 22-year-old due to his £20m valuation.
The report claims that Palace were prepared to pay a maximum fee of £10m, even after Arsenal suggested that they could be willing to lower their demands by 25% to £15m. The Eagles are now reportedly on the verge of signing Odsonne Edouard from Celtic to solve their striker situation.
This is excellent news for Palace and means that Steve Parish has dodged a bullet on deadline day. Bringing Nketiah to the club for £15m, or more so the initial £20m fee, would have been a disaster for the club, as Edouard appears to be a better option on paper.
Palace have reportedly agreed a fee between £15m and £20m for the Celtic marksman, which suggests that they are paying a similar price to what they would have needed to land Nketiah. This means that it could be fair to compare their respective qualities and assess who the better player could be.
Nketiah has been on the fringes at Arsenal for a number of years now and has struggled to break into the starting XI under Unai Emery or Mikel Arteta. He also spent a spell on loan with Leeds in the Championship, but only two of his 17 appearances came from the start as Marcelo Bielsa viewed him as an option from the bench.
In 70 career appearances in the Championship, Premier League and Europa League, he has scored 11 goals and set up just one. Across those games, he has averaged a lowly WhoScored rating of 6.39. This suggests that he does not have the quality to consistently perform in the top flight at this stage in his career, which means that he may have struggled at Palace this season.
Meanwhile, Edouard has been playing regularly for Celtic domestically and in Europe and has been thriving on the pitch. Over the last three campaigns, the Frenchman scored seven goals in 15 Europa League starts for the Hoops, showing that he can score at a decent level of football. He also scored 16 goals in 23 Scottish Premiership games last season and has begun the current campaign with two goals in three starts.
This shows that Palace are bringing in a player who is in his rhythm and used to scoring goals at a consistent rate, rather than one warming the bench at Arsenal. The 23-year-old could therefore have a better chance of hitting the ground running and impressing in the Premier League, although there are no guarantees that he will be able to translate his form over from Scotland.
Edouard’s advantage over Nketiah on paper is why Parish is dodging a bullet by avoiding a big-money deal for the Gunners forward today.