22 games into the Premier League campaign, Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace have managed to put their early shambles in the season behind them, and stand in the 14th place, just three points away from a place in the top half of the table. The new manager will definitely look to improve on his options in the January transfer window, to try and end the season on a strong note and this has seen the club linked with a number of star players constantly in the last couple of weeks.
One such player Hodgson is reportedly desperate for is Watford outcast Stefano Okaka.
According to reports from The Sun, Crystal Palace are desperate to improve their quality in front of goal and are expected to sign more than one striker before the end of this month. It is also revealed that Okaka is right up the wish list for Hodgson, who is ready to make a bid in the upcoming days.
Having made just two league starts this season, the player himself will be excited with this story and it is understood that Watford are ready to let him leave for a bid of around £10m, which Palace should not have a problem paying.
Okaka – factfile
Having broken into the senior side at AS Roma from their academy back in 2005, Okaka failed to establish a place in the first team at the club and spent more time on loan, at 5 different clubs, than he did on the field in Rome. He only made a name for himself in the Belgian domestic league, where he scored 15 goals in 37 league games in the 2015-16 season.
This earned him a move to the Vicarage Road, where he was soon seen starting games regularly. However, he has failed to acclimatise to the English conditions and has managed just 36 Premier League appearances in more than one and half seasons. He has a goal in just two league starts this season but Watford are not expected to use him regularly, making him a decent buy for Palace.
Though not a regular target-man, Okaka is a smart footballer whose movements on and off the ball are a threat to even the best of defences in the country. His vision and accuracy in passing allow him to create chances on a regular basis in the final third. He needs to improve on his hold up play and needs to be a bit more efficient in front of goal but at 28, he is in his prime as a footballer and move away from Watford could do wonders to his career.
Chances at Crystal Palace
With quite a lot of experience under his belt, Okaka, though not effective in England so far, can easily walk into the first team at Palace, at the moment. With Belgian international Christian Benteke the only player to lead the line for the Eagles, his lack of form has seriously affected their chances in the top flight.
Palace have scored less than a goal per game on average this season and a return of just one goal from their premier striker has been the major reason for their woes in front of goal. Okaka may not be able to score goals galore but he not only adds a number and an option for Hodgson but also gives the Crystal Palace attack a different dimension, which could make all the difference in crunch games.
The January window does not give clubs a chance to land their top transfer targets and at just £10m, Okaka is a player who will definitely improve the Eagles.