Three centre-backs Crystal Palace can target in January
Crystal Palace started the season in a fantastic manner, winning 2-0 vs Premier League new boys Fulham. But that has been the only win for Palace so far in the league this term, with Roy Hodgson’s men losing the following three games, including the game against a struggling Southampton side.
The Eagles have collected just three points from four games and those are worrying signs for Hodgson and co. While Palace’s attack has been blunt, it is the club’s defence that has looked all over the place.
Scott Dann has been out since January following a knee problem, while James Tomkins has missed the Eagles’ last two games with a calf strain. Due to injuries, Palace have only Mamadou Sakho and Martin Kelly as the fully-fit centre-backs, while Jairo Reidewald could also play in central defence.
However, the Eagles lack a commanding presence in central defence and it is high time Hodgson gets one when the transfer market reopens. So, here are three centre-backs Palace can target in January.
Pontus Jansson (Leeds United)
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United are on top of the Championship after six games and are unbeaten. But defender Pontus Jansson has played only three games.
Jansson, 27, returned late to pre-season after featuring for Sweden at the World Cup and is currently on international duty. The big Swede has found first-team opportunities tough to come by under Bielsa and Palace could test Leeds’ resolve with a bid for him in January.
Jansson would add reliability to the Palace backline and he could be tempted by an offer from the Premier League. At 27, the Swede is entering the peak years of his career.
Christopher Jullien (Toulouse)
Christopher Jullien, standing at 6ft 5in, has been one of Ligue 1’s most impressive performers over the last couple of years, with his ability to win aerial duels with ease and score from set-pieces.
Hodgson could make a move for the towering Frenchman in January to bolster his defensive options. By adding Jullien, Palace would get an aerially dominant and a composed ball-playing centre-back.
Signing Jullien would toughen up the spine of the team, an area Palace clearly need to improve, having conceded 55 goals last season.
Jack Stephens (Southampton)
Jack Stephens is expected to have very limited game time this season as Mark Hughes’ Southampton side are heavily stocked in the central defence area.
Hence, Palace must make a move for Stephens in January. He is decent at bringing the ball out from the back but has struggled to make an impact at Southampton.
Read more: Why Crystal Palace’s £38m duo could play a major role in helping the Eagles to a top-10 finish this season
Stephens is imposing, good in the air and versatile, which could attract Hodgson to sign the former Plymouth man to solve his club’s defensive woes.