Crystal Palace have been going places under Patrick Vieira and there is a sense of expectation and excitement as the campaign gets underway in a few days’ time.
The Frenchman will welcome the side he captained so successfully to Selhurst Park on Friday evening and it would be just typical if he was to defeat them.
With the likes of Cheick Doucoure, Chris Richards, Sam Johnstone and Malcolm Ebiowei – a player already compared to Wilfried Zaha – in their ranks a win could well be forthcoming. After all, the Eagles brushed aside Arsenal with relative ease on home turf last season.
One player they will have to be wary of is a certain Bukayo Saka. The Englishman was their top scorer last season and is now valued at a whopping £100m by Football Observatory.
It has been a meteoric rise for the winger and Palace could well sign their own version of the Gunners’ energetic and skilful youngster this summer.
That’s because they’ve been linked with an eye-catching move for Napoli and Mexico forward Hirving Lozano.
Indeed, speaking of the deal earlier this week to Football FanCast, journalist Pete O’Rourke admitted that it would be a “huge signing” for the London club, and it’s hard to disagree with that viewpoint.
It hasn’t quite happened for him in Naples where he’s scored 26 times in 114 outings but while in the Netherlands at PSV, he was in astonishing form.
Before he moved to Italy, Lozano bagged 40 goals in 79 appearances for the Dutch giants, form that saw him become one of the most exciting young attackers in the modern game.
At the age of 27, the Mexican is now in his prime and is arguably in need of a move to really launch his career. He may be slight and therefore rather lightweight for the Premier League, but there is an element of bite to his play style that would surely suit the English game.
Compared to Saka, via FB Ref, it only provides further evidence of how his attributes would be perfect for Palace.
Should Palace sign Lozano?
Not for me!
When it comes to passes that lead to a shot attempt, the duo were both fairly evenly matched with Lozano registering 2.68 to Saka’s 2.84 per 90 minutes over the last 365 days.
They press a similar number of times with the Napoli talent managing a success rate of 25.5 per 90 compared to the Arsenal winger’s 27.0.
The amount of dribbles they complete per 90 is also similar as Saka managed 1.48 to Lozano’s 1.40 in the last year. It’s this area of their game where they are most alike as the former registers 7.92 progressive carries per 90 to the latter’s 8.21.
With that in mind, it’s clear to see that ‘Chucky‘ as he is affectionately known, is an incredibly exciting talent and one that could light up Selhurst this season.
If Vieira can convince him to make the move, he may well unearth his own version of Saka – the £100m-rated Arsenal starlet. Now there’s a mouthwatering thought.
AND in other news, Vieira eyeing Palace swoop for “complete” £13m colossus, he’s the ideal Benteke heir…