According to recent reports from SportItalia, Crystal Palace are seeking a deal for Joel Obi. The Torino midfielder has been identified as a top-target by Roy Hodgson but the Eagles could face stiff competition from Benfica and Porto.
Crystal Palace are apparently looking to bolster their squad this summer, as they aim for a top ten finish in the Premier League next season. Midfield, in particular, is a key area which needs to be re-addressed.
Even though the likes of Luka Milivojevic and Yohan Cabaye remained a key part of their squad last season, Palace could well use some reinforcements in the midfield department and the addition of Joel Obi could be a massive boost for the club.
Joel Obi, who has found resounding success, following his torrid spell at Inter Milan, is now one of the highly rated midfielders in his native Nigeria.
After moving to the Italian capital in the summer of 2015, the 27-year-old has made 59 competitive appearances for Torino. Last season, in particular, Obi made 22 league appearances. His five goals and two assists helped his team finish in the top half of the league.
Joel Obi has only won 17 caps for his nation despite making his debut in 2011. But that being said, the Torino midfielder has established himself as a regular fixture in the Nigerian national team since the start of the year.
He will be seen in action in the upcoming FIFA World Cup, where he’s expected to play a key role for Nigeria. Crystal Palace officials will be eager to see how he performs on the biggest stage. However, it would probably be wiser for them to seal a move before the start of the World Cup as a few decent performances could sky-rocket his value.
Standing in Palace’s way, however, will be two of the biggest giants in Portuguese football. Both SL Benfica and FC Porto have shown a keen interest in the services of the Nigerian international. Considering the fact that both the clubs can offer Champions League football to Joel Obi, could prove to be a difficult situation for Crystal Palace. However, that being said, the opportunity of playing in arguably the best league in the world coupled with a far bigger salary might be enough to lure him to Selhurst Park this summer.
Either way, Palace need to lay a strong foundation for the transfer window leading to the start of the season as their end of season form has paved the way for possibly a far more impressive campaign if Roy can play his cards right.