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Crystal Palace: Eagles join race for World Cup winner

Crystal Palace: Eagles join race for World Cup winner - NON-NEWSNOW

Crystal Palace have joined West Ham and Valencia in the race for Monaco’s Djibril Sidibe, according to France Football.

The 26-year-old French international was part of France’s World Cup-winning squad in 2018, playing one game versus Denmark in a 0-0 draw.

The right-back played 26 games in the league for Monaco last season, missing a string of matches due to injuries.

He moved to Monaco from Lille in 2016 and was part of the side that shocked Europe by winning Ligue 1 and reaching the semi-final stage of the Champions League.

Things haven’t got easier for Monaco since then, though, and Sidibe – like many other Monaco players – slumped significantly as the club only just survived a relegation battle last year.

The Eagles have been rumoured with a long list of right-backs since Aaron Wan-Bissaka left the club for a reported £50million. Carl Jenkinson, Nathaniel Clyne, Timothy Castagne and Reece James have all been mentioned, but there is still no signing to replace the right-back with just a few weeks before the season starts.

The report does not suggest how much Sidibe would cost, but a previous report from L’Equipe which links West Ham and Valencia to the player suggests he would be available for €15million.

Palace’s need for a right-back really needs no introduction.

The sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka has left a big hole in the right side of Palace’s defence. Roy Hodgson currently has the options of only one conventional right-back in Joel Ward, and also Martin Kelly who is a natural in that position. Both are now 29 and are both more defensive-minded full-backs, with neither registering an assist last term (as per WhoScored).

Even though Wan-Bissaka was a full-back who stood out for his defensive capabilities, his pace and skill set meant that he would cause problems up the right flank, evident from his three assists for the season.

Defensively, he will be very difficult to replace. Wan-Bissaka has the third-highest average amount of tackles in the league with 3.7, the seventh-highest amount of interceptions with 2.4 per game, and averages 1.7 dribbles per game – the 13th most in the division, the second most out of any defender.

Comparatively, Sidibe’s defensive stats were considerably worse in pretty much every department – though it was a shockingly bad season for Monaco on the whole, so his stats were never likely to flourish. Sidibe averages 1.9 tackles per game (compared to 3.7), 1.2 interceptions (compared to 2.4) and commits over twice as many fouls with 1.5 per game (compared to 0.7).

On the other hand, Sidibe’s stats suggest that he is likely to offer much more offensively. He averages 0.7 shots a game compared to Wan-Bissaka’s 0.3, averages 1.2 key passes compared to 0.4 and gets fouled 1.2 times per game compared to 0.5. Alternatively, Wan-Bissaka recorded one more assist this season (3 to 2) and also has many more dribbles per game with 1.7 to 0.3 (all stats according to WhoScored).

Signing Sidibe would be a huge coup for Crystal Palace.

While he might not be able to replicate the amount of tackles or interceptions that Wan-Bissaka can, he can bring something different to the club with his attacking capabilities.

Crystal Palace should realise that they do not have to sign a linear replacement for Wan-Bissaka; they can use the opportunity to adjust their style and have more of a potent threat down the right-flank.

In Sidibe, Palace would be bringing in a player who holds a much more potent threat in the final third. He averages over twice the amount of crosses which Wan-Bissaka does (0.8 to 0.3 per game). Palace recorded a very low amount of crosses last season, and if they do choose to lead the line with Christian Benteke then that needs to be adjusted. If Palace can utilise his pace and crossing ability then he would be a fantastic signing for the Eagles.

Crystal Palace fans, would Sidibe be a good Wan-Bissaka replacement? Join the discussion by commenting below…

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Article title: Crystal Palace: Eagles join race for World Cup winner

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