The report suggests that Palace are prepared to sell their star winger Wilfried Zaha, 26, and will instead jump in for Ismaila Sarr, 21.
L’Equipe say that as of Tuesday a deal was agreed between Watford and Rennes worth around £30m including add-ons, with the player earning around £75,000-per-week.
However, it is said that Rennes’ president Olivier Letang has now delayed the deal, wanting to squeeze a bit money out of Watford or by encouraging another club to get involved in the potential transfer.
Yesterday morning, Palace reportedly entered discussions to buy Sarr, however, the offer is believed to be under the bid which Watford have made.
With Wilfried Zaha handing in a transfer request (Sky Sports), Palace have a decision to make to either hold him against his will or to reinvest in another forward who is capable of getting close to replicating to what Zaha can do.
Due to this whole situation happening so close to the end of the transfer window, Palace would have to replace Zaha with someone who is like-for-like, as it may be too late to completely adapt their style of football now, which revolves largely around the Ivorian, as referenced within this tactical analysis of Roy Hodgson’s tactics by Medium.
Firstly, Sarr would represent a player who could have big resale value and add youth to an ageing squad; the club had the fifth-highest average age of any team in the Premier League last year (Transfermarkt).
In terms of style, Sarr might be a natural Zaha replacement. He is only 21, has the ability to play on all flanks, and boasts a decent dribbling ability, as proved by 1.8 dribbles per game, a figure only bettered by the Ivorian himself at Selhurst Park last season.
When it comes to goal contributions, Sarr scored 8 goals last season in the league, while also registering 6 assists (via WhoScored) which is one less in total than Zaha’s 10 goals and 5 assists (via WhoScored).
Like Zaha, he is versatile, quick and has the ability to score – and he also has the chance to make the club a lot more money.
If Zaha really wants to go, then Palace should line up this signing as a replacement. However, if Sarr isn’t available and Palace have to settle for someone with less quality, then they should hang onto their man.
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