With just hours remaining of the January transfer window, Crystal Palace made arguably the signing of the day as they swooped to sign Michy Batshuayi from Chelsea, on a loan deal that will run until the end of the season as reported on the Eagles’ official site.
With the 25-year-old’s arrival, Palace now have two Belgian international strikers in their ranks including Christian Benteke, and if the pair are deployed in attack together, they could cause absolute chaos.
The former Standard Liege striker is a player that the south Londoners have had in their sights for a while, having had a bid accepted for the forward whilst he was at Marseille, before being gazumped by Chelsea for his signature.
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Batshuayi has a low centre of gravity that enables him to be an effective dribbler, whilst he is an extremely alert poacher in and around the box. He has scored goals everywhere he has been throughout his career, with 44 goals for Standard Liege, 33 for Marseille, 19 for Chelsea, nine in 14 games for Borussia Dortmund and three for Valencia this season, per Transfermarkt.
However, he isn’t the most physical striker, nor the most aerially dominant, so he should be deployed alongside another frontman in a 4-4-2 system, with Benteke the best suited to play alongside his international colleague.
One thing Palace and Roy Hodgson, in particular, are guilty of this season is isolating the man up top, whether it’s Jordan Ayew, or Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha as makeshift strikers, they have been starved of service.
It has often been a case of hoisting the ball long to the striker, with no wingers or midfielders within radius of him to gather up any knockdowns or loose balls, which is understandable when the aforementioned trio possess no real aerial prowess.
In Benteke, however, Palace have a striker who is one of the best in the Premier League aerially, and now have a player who is always on his toes and on the move in Batshuayi. The pair should be able to hit it off straight away in terms of being on the same wavelength, as they have worked together for years at international level and know what each other are capable of.
Hodgson has stuck with one up front for a long time now, but with those two in attack and Zaha and Townsend back on the wings, Palace could have an inspired second half of the season, so the Eagles should definitely switch things up.