The Missing Piece: Crystal Palace must sign Allan Saint-Maximin to compliment Wilfried Zaha

Crystal Palace fans may think that Andros Townsend is an excellent foil for Wilfried Zaha’s talents on the opposing wing, and whilst the England international is a tremendous player, there is something missing that still sees Zaha get doubled, even tripled up on by the opposition.

The last piece of the jigsaw

The Eagles are finally looking like a very competent Premier League side with quality littered almost throughout their entire squad. Roy Hodgson has an excellent ‘keeper in Vicente Guaita in goal, and ahead of the Spaniard, the 71-year-old boss has Aaron Wan-Bissaka, James Tomkins, Mamadou Sakho and Patrick van Aanholt at his disposal.

That quartet makes up what is currently the fifth best defence in the Premier League with nine clean sheets, behind only Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham.

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In midfield, the south Londoners are fairly overstocked, with even Max Meyer struggling for game time. Luka Milivojevic and Cheikhou Kouyate play at the base of the midfield, with either James McArthur or utility man Jeffrey Schlupp alongside them.

It is in attack where times have been tough, and whilst they have improved slightly with the arrival of Michy Batshuayi, Palace still lack someone with as much swagger and flair as Zaha.

Who could be the answer?

The Ivorian excelled in the Championship when playing close to another flair player in Yannick Bolasie, and seemed to always have space to work in as defenders were fearful of leaving one of them isolated.

Nowadays, defenders know they can put two or three men on Zaha and instantly nullify the Eagles’ attack.

One man who has just as much confidence as Zaha – shown by his outrageous decision to wear a Gucci headband in a match – is Nice’s mercurial forward Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Frenchman has hit six goals and recorded two assists in Ligue 1 this season, and can play either on the flanks or in the centre.

Palace must sign him and play him as close to Zaha as possible – if they do that, they’ll have a perfectly oiled machine and perhaps one of the trickiest duets in the Premier League.