This article is part of Football FanCast’s One to Watch series, which focuses on those players we think are particularly worth keeping an eagle-eye on as the 2019/20 season unfolds.
Max Meyer has an important season ahead of him as he enters his second year with Crystal Palace.
The German midfielder broke into the senior squad in the 2013/14 season, making a total of 30 league appearances and registering six goals and four assists in a glowing campaign.
His statistical return looked less glamorous in the following season as he scored five goals and provided just one assist, before a dramatic improvement in 2015/16 saw him tally up five goals and eight assists.
Meyer’s role has transformed over time, though, and as he has sunk deeper into the midfield his attacking contribution has naturally declined.
Having rebranded himself as a number six, Meyer decided to join Crystal Palace on a free transfer last summer. In 29 appearances on his maiden campaign, Meyer only played as an attacking midfielder on two separate occasions, while enjoying 14 games in central midfield and 13 on the left.
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Add those new names to the originals including Cheikhou Kouyate, Luka Milivojevic and James McArthur and suddenly the scale of his challenge becomes clear.
The 5ft 8 midfielder is a talented footballer and he proved that during his time in Germany, but he’s not been an instant hit at Selhurst Park.
It remains to be seen whether Hodgson will be able to find a role for Meyer to make his own and thrive in. Glimpses of quality last season gave the Eagles faithful enough reason to trust that he could eventually become a star at this level, but patience is a virtue that is seldom afforded in Premier League football, particularly to the top earners.
Meyer is currently Palace’s second highest earner after Zaha, per Spotrac, and the club will expect to see a hefty return on their investment this season.
This could be a make-or-break campaign.
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While the typically counter-attacking nature of Palace’s setup doesn’t always advocate the flair and delicateness of the German’s play, he’s still got to find a way to add real value to his side.
Signings have arrived to condense an already congested area but Meyer should fancy himself to rise above them in the pecking order.
With that said, he should target nothing less than a regular starting berth.
Meyer should target (all competitions):