Crystal Palace are eyeing a move for £4.9m-rated Junior Sambia from French club Montpellier this summer as they look to strengthen their defensive positions.
According to reports from French outlet Le10 Sport the Eagles are interested in the right-back who is out of contract this summer. He would be available on a free transfer which would be a coup for the South London club.
However, they face competition from Ligue 1 club Marseille who are also interested in signing the 25-year old. He had previously been linked with Premier League club Newcastle United all the way back in 2016.
If Sambia were to join Palace then he would be competing with Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Ward for the right back position at Selhurst Park.
He is also a versatile player, one dubbed a “golden guy” by French commentator Bertrand Queneutt, and can play in a defensive midfield position therefore providing another option for Patrick Vieira.
When it comes to his defensive skills he is in the top 5% in Ligue 1 this season for number of blocks. He also betters Clyne in a number of categories, including shot-creating actions, successful dribbles and progressive carries.
It’s his quality going forward compared to what Palace currently have in that position which is impressive. His average goal creating actions per 90 minutes sits at 0.18 which betters Clyne at 0.14 and Ward at 0.09.
Sambia is also only 24-years old which makes him significantly younger than Clyne meaning he would be a good long term option for the Eagles.
He has a higher number of progressive carries this season at 103 which is more than Clyne and Ward combined.
Vieira has turned Palace into a more aggressive side that’s not afraid to go at opponents and signing Sambia would fit perfectly into this. The fact he is French also could potentially give Palace an edge on signing him due to their manager’s connections.
With all of this considered, especially the fact he wouldn’t cost them anything in terms of a transfer fee, it’s hard to see why Palace wouldn’t make this move in the summer.
It would free up funds for them to spend elsewhere, whilst still improving a key position in their squad.