Crystal Palace return to Premier League action when Roy Hodgson’s side travel to Turf Moor to take on Burnley on Monday night.
The top flight paused for a couple of weeks due to the international break but now it’s back fans will be bracing themselves for a busy festive period, where the Eagles will want to build on their newfound momentum after they ran riot over Leeds United at Selhurst Park.
However, the hectic schedule presents a very difficult test for a number of reasons, as Eberechi Eze withdrew from the England U21 squad earlier this week, whilst the Palace boss will be wanting to tie down several senior players to new and improved contracts as they run down their existing deals.
But Hodgson has been dealt a huge blow as the club have so far failed to reach an agreement with Patrick van Aanholt’s representatives, leaving the former England manager with a tough decision on who will replace him if the 30-year-old does depart Selhurst Park.
Reports in recent times revealed that Marseille’s Jordan Amavi has emerged as a target for Palace as the Eagles search for a replacement for Van Aanholt next summer.
It’s claimed that the south London club are closely monitoring his situation as the Dutchman’s deal expires at the end of the season, which means that he could in theory sign a pre-contract agreement and leave the club as a free agent in January.
The former Aston Villa left-back has not ruled out a return to the Premier League in the not too distant future, as his current contract with the French Ligue 1 club will run out in 2021. Speaking to L’Equipe, he said: “England is the championship that I prefer. Afterwards, we don’t know what tomorrow will be like. For now, I’m here, I’m wearing the OM jersey.”
So, Palace chairman Steve Parish can solve Hodgson’s problems by signing Amavi as the perfect replacement for Van Aanholt.
The 26-year-old, who returned to his homeland in 2018, played 10 games in the Premier League for Aston Villa, picking up four assists, whilst he made 3.6 tackles, 3.7 interceptions and 3.2 clearances per game, via WhoScored.
Since then, Amavi has made six appearances in Ligue 1 this season, scoring once so far, whilst he is averaging 1.8 tackles, 3.7 interceptions and 3.7 clearances per game, as per WhoScored. He also has experience of playing in the Champions League, which is surely an added bonus.
By comparison, even Van Aanholt is only managing 0.3 tackles, 0.3 interceptions and 1.3 clearances per game in the Premier League so far this season, via WhoScored.
Quite why Villa decided to sell Amavi in the first place we will probably never understand but their loss could be Palace’s gain if Parish can get a deal done in time.
Former Villa manager Tim Sherwood once described him as a “terrific” player after he signed a five-year deal at Villa Park, whilst now-Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce insisted the versatile player is “very professional.”
The left-back position at Selhurst Park has become a bit of a problem in recent years, which could be compounded by Van Aanholt’s potential exit, but Parish could land a like-for-like replacement instead, or at the very least, someone who would be able to provide Tyrick Mitchell with some decent competition for a place in the starting line-up.
The £9m-rated defender (via Transfermarkt) certainly seems like the perfect replacement, and who knows, if he impresses, he could become the first-choice starter for years to come. He’ll be chomping at the bit to do so, that’s for sure.