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Crystal Palace: Eagles face competition for Chris Richards

Crystal Palace: Eagles face competition for Chris Richards -Crystal Palace News

Crystal Palace face plenty of Premier League competition for reported defensive target Chris Richards.

The lowdown

Palace have made two first-team additions so far ahead of Patrick Vieira’s second season in charge.

18-year-old winger Malcolm Ebiowei has arrived from Derby County, while goalkeeper Sam Johnstone has joined on a free transfer following his departure from West Bromwich Albion.

Richards, 22, belongs to Bayern Munich but has had two spells on loan at fellow Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim. He’s predominantly a centre-back but has also recorded 18 out of 107 appearances as a full-back.

The Athletic reported last month that Palace have shown an interest in signing the American this summer.

Richards, under contract at the Allianz Arena until June 2025, is valued at £6.75million by Transfermarkt. He’d be competing with the likes of Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen for a starting role at Selhurst Park.

The latest

According to a report from 90Min’s Chris Smith, Brighton, Leeds and Southampton are also now ‘watching’ Richards. It’s the Saints who are thought to hold the strongest interest at this moment in time.

Richards is even believed to have more suitors in Germany and France and wants to play regularly ahead of the Qatar World Cup at the end of the year.

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The verdict

Richards is a very well-rounded centre-back. He’s accomplished in possession, ranking in the 82nd percentile among positional peers for progressive passes and above average for progressive carries (via FBRef).

He defends on the front-foot (83rd percentile for pressures and interceptions) and records exceptionally high volumes of blocks (99th percentile) and successful aerial duels (98th).

And on top of all that, he can also be a threat offensively, placing in the 80th percentile for total shots.

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FBRef compare him to Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels and Tottenham Hotspur’s Davinson Sanchez.

He’s a player who’s generated considerable excitement, featuring in the IFFHS Men’s World Youth Team in 2020 alongside the likes of Wesley Fofana, Alphonso Davies, Eduardo Camavinga, Phil Foden and Erling Haaland.

Indeed, BBC Sport journalist Raj Chohan says the ‘class‘ Richards is similar to Fofana in that he’s ‘suited  to playing in a high line’.

He could be an excellent addition to Palace’s centre-back ranks, but it looks like they’ll have to fend off some serious competition.

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