Crystal Palace join the race for former Southampton attacker: A smart move by Hodgson

Former Southampton striker Jonathan Afolabi is being monitored by Crystal Palace, it has been reported.

Afolabi has been contacted by the Eagles and they have submitted a contract offer to the young gun and his representatives, have claimed.

Apart from Crystal Palace, Premier League newcomers Aston Villa are also believed to be interested to sign him and it will be intriguing to see which club lands him eventually.

The striker left the ranks of the Saints at the end of the previous campaign in search of regular first-team opportunities and will be buoyed by the interest shown in him.

He has attracted a lot of attention lately following his commendable outings for the Republic of Ireland in the Under-19 European Championships.

Afolabi guided his side to the semi-final of the aforesaid competition after having scored the first goal in their 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in the quarter-final.

He missed Ireland’s semi-final outing against Portugal, which the former eventually lost, due to a dubious suspension but he certainly dazzled in the three games he featured in.

Under the tutelage of Roy Hodgson, Crystal Palace finished twelfth in the Premier League standings last season with 49 points to their name.

They must aim to get into the top half of the league table in the upcoming campaign and in order to do so, they have to beef up their artillery in the ongoing transfer window.

In particular, the attacking sector of the London based outfit needs reinforcements after the senior strikers struggled to make their presence felt last season.

Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham flattered to deceive and it goes without saying that Hodgson needs to add depth and quality in the striking department.

Besides, there are doubts over the future of winger Wilfried Zaha at the Selhurst Park as he has been heavily linked with Arsenal and Everton.

In such a scenario, Afolabi will be a good signing for Crystal Palace to introduce competition for a place in the starting lineup, despite the permanent signing of Jordan Ayew from Swansea City.

What will he bring to the table?

Afolabi is a hard-working upcoming striker who has the natural ability to thrive with his poaching instincts and confidence in the final third. He knows where the goal is and is also very good in the air.

He has pace to burn and links-up well with his teammates up front. Although he is far from being a finished product, he has shown enough for teams to be ready to invest in him and reap the dividends in time.

And given Palace’s dearth of regular goalscorers, a move to the Selhurst might appeal to him personally as chances will be just around the corner if he can impress in training.

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