Roy Hodgson must urge Steve Parish to sanction a summer swoop for Juventus centre-back Radu Dragusin amid reports of interest from Crystal Palace.
What’s the word?
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Dragusin finds himself on Hodgson’s transfer list, having already been identified as a top priority for Steve Bruce at Newcastle United.
Andrea Pirlo handed the 19-year-old Romanian his senior debut for the Serie A giants in the Champions League this season in what could be seen as a show of faith by the club legend.
However, with his contract set to expire at the end of this season, time is quickly running out for the two parties to reach an agreement over a possible extension.
And now, it seems Palace and Newcastle are set to slug it out with RB Leipzig for the highly-rated defender when the transfer window re-opens in the summer.
It goes without saying that Palace have the oldest squad in the Premier League by quite some margin, hence their interest in Dragusin. The Eagles were badly beaten 3-0 by Burnley last weekend, which has cast considerable doubt over Hodgson’s future at Selhurst Park.
So why are they so leaky at the back? Well, it cannot help that their defence largely consists of injury-prone veterans who are well over the age of 30. Palace have conceded the second-most amount of goals (42) in the top flight – level with newly-promoted Leeds and only Premier League strugglers West Brom have conceded more – and have also kept just four clean sheets.
That’s not to say that signing a bunch of youngsters is necessarily the answer to all their problems, but they do need to start planning for the future.
However, they may not have to look much further than the young Romanian, who has developed quite the reputation at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.
Just like Gary Cahill, who WhoScored lists as an indirect set-piece threat, Dragusin is a powerful threat in the air, who has started to show signs that he is a robust central defender. Against SPAL, he made one tackle, two interceptions, one clearance and blocked one shot in only his second start for the club, which suggests that he reads the game well and has a fine sense of positional awareness.
Pirlo has previously sung the praises of Dragusin in the past, saying: “He’s physically very strong. He’s very young and must develop on a technical level, but he will have time to do it, training every day with great champions.”
That sort of physicality would be most welcome in south London, and to be able to nab a player who clearly has so much potential could be an extremely smart bit of business if Parish can bring him to Selhurst Park in the summer.
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