Crystal Palace are already looking towards the summer transfer window as they have sent scouts to watch defender Martin Erlic according to Gazzetta dello Sport via Sports Witness.
Erlic is a 22-year-old centre-back who currently plays for Spezia in Serie B (Transfermarkt) and Palace, along with fellow Premier League side Southampton watched him play against Ascoli on Monday.
Crystal Palace like to look for bargains, they managed to get Spanish goalkeeper Vicente Guaita on a free in July 2018 and he is now a fan favourite who has kept nine clean sheets for the club this season (Transfermarkt). They also managed to sign forward Jordan Ayew for £2.5 million and he has scored eight goals for the Eagles this term (Transfermarkt)
Looking into a division like the Serie B seems like something a club who have spent little recently would do. The players who can currently play at centre-back for Palace are all quite old, with Martin Kelly being the youngest at 29 (Transfermarkt). Scott Dann and Gary Cahill, who have kept three clean sheets in a row are currently 33 and 35 years old, so to get a young defender with potential seems like a good risk for Palace to take (Transfermarkt).
According to the article, the Eagles and Southampton believe they have spotted Premier League quality in the youngster. It also states that he was initially signed from Sassuolo for £300,000 and if any deal does happen, they will be entitled to 50% of the transfer fee.
It is currently unknown whether Erlic has the quality to perform in a top league, given the Croatian has only played in Italy’s second division.
However, Roy Hodgson is a great defensive manager, highlighted by the fact that the Eagles have shipped just 32 goals in the Premier League this season which is fewer than the likes of Chelsea, Wolves, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal (BBC Sport). With this in mind, he may be able to get the best out of Erlic and mould him into a top flight defender.
The 22-year-old is certainly highly rated in Italy, with Gazzetta dello Sport labelling him as ‘the small Skriniar’ (via Sport Witness), high praise indeed given the Slovakian has started 24 times for Inter Milan in Serie A this season and has helped them to eight clean sheets (Transfermarkt).
If they are able to get the defender for a reasonable price, then there is no reason as to why Palace should not try to beat Southampton to the signing.
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