This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
According to the Daily Mail, Crystal Palace must pay £25m if they want to sign Nice attacker Allan Saint-Maximin this summer, and the stats suggest that his arrival would more than soften the blow should Wilfried Zaha leave Selhurst Park.
The Daily Mail says that the Frenchman is seen as someone who could provide competition for the Ivory Coast international, and potentially be his long-term replacement should he move on.
The BBC reported on Wednesday that the 26-year-old is keen on a move to Arsenal, but that the south London outfit’s £80m valuation, as well as the fact that they have sold Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United, means they are reluctant to let him go through the exit door in the next six weeks.
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While losing Zaha – whether it be now, in January or next summer – would clearly be a huge loss given he is the club’s talisman and scored 10 goals and provided a further five assists in 34 Premier League appearances last season, there could be some light at the end of the tunnel.
Interestingly enough, Saint Maximin played exactly the same number of games in Ligue 1 in 2018/19, scoring six goals and picking up three assists, so let’s have a look at how they match up in some key attacking areas.
The Palace man is known as being one of the best dribblers in the English top flight, and only Eden Hazard attempted more dribbles (3.7) per appearance than Zaha’s 3.4 – he was successful with 114 out of 225, as per WhoScored.
As you can see from the graphic, he also betters the Ivorian when it comes to key passes and shots per game as well, indicating that he has the potential to be even more of a threat in the final third.
Given he averaged more shots and scored less goals than Zaha, there is a clear area for improvement should the 5 ft 8 ace end up arriving him in SE25, but his recent stats are more than promising.
If Palace sell Wan Bissaka and Zaha, will they be in another relegation battle? One fan gives his opinion in the video below…
It would be no surprise if some Palace fans felt that the 26-year-old is irreplaceable, but the Ligue 1 star would clearly be a worthwhile investment – especially for £25m.
Losing Zaha would be a bitter pill to swallow if and when the time comes, but the arrival of Saint-Maximin would go some way to cushioning the blow if he brings his form in France to the Premier League.