Crystal Palace hoping to land 18-year-old Southend midfielder Dru Yearwood

Crystal Palace director of football Dougie Freeman is spearheading interest in Southend United’s Dru Yearwood according to reports in printed version of The Sun (page 59, October 30), via HITC.

What’s the word?

The Palace legend is claimed by the print version of The Sun to be utilising his connections with the League One outfit to get the inside scoop on how Yearwood is developing, having come through the Shrimpers’ academy.

The 18-year-old has represented his side at a professional level on more than 30 occasions, eight of which have come this season, leading to The Sun on Sunday, via The Plymouth Herald, first breaking the news that the Premier League side were closely watching the midfielder with an eye on a January move.

Tuesday’s latest story suggests that Freeman is now using the links he built whilst playing out the final days of his career at Roots Hall to better position Palace in their pursuit of a teenager with a big future ahead of him.

Yearwood made his professional debut in the EFL Cup against Newport County in August 2017 having earlier signed a four-year contract at the club he spent his entire juniour career with. But it was not until Southend replaced Phil Brown with Chris Powell in January that the academy graduate earned a consistent run in the League One side, going on to feature in each of the remaining 18 games.

Should it happen?

Any transfer would sever a seven-year relationship, and add pressure on a midfielder who has never changed clubs and is still only building his footprint in the game.

Sure Palace would be adding a young talent that earned an England U21 call-up earlier in the year, only for an injury to prevent him from travelling to China, but he is extremely unlikely to play under Roy Hodgson.

Signing Yearwood now would simply be a prevention mechanism to stop other clubs from acquiring a talent the board feels would suit the direction they want Crystal Palace to go in.

If Freeman does pull off the coup for the Shrimpers graduate, an immediate loan move back away from Selhurst Park must go in tandem otherwise the transfer could ruin the 5ft 9in midfielder’s career before it even begins.