Crystal Palace reviving interest in this 14-goal ace would be an immensely shrewd move by Hodgson

Crystal Palace Opinion: Why the Eagles should go for Karl Toko Ekambi?

Back in December 2017, French outlet L’Equipe claimed Crystal Palace were interested in signing former Angers forward Karl Toko Ekambi. However, a move to the Eagles didn’t happen and the 26-year-old went onto join Villarreal in June 2018 after finishing the 2017/18 season with 17 goals and six assists for Angers in Ligue 1.

Karl Toko Ekambi has enjoyed a solid debut campaign in La Liga so far, managing 14 goals in 35 games for Villarreal across all competitions. The Cameroonian has succeeded in filling the big shoes of Cedric Bakambu, who left El Madrigal for Chinese club Beijing Sinobo Guoan in February 2018.

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace have had a really quiet season in the Premier League and they find themselves hanging 14th in the table, five points clear of the drop zone. The Eagles may just have enough quality than the bottom three to beat the drop but there’ll be a lot to think about heading into the 2019/20 campaign.

Roy Hodgson has plenty of issues to sort out relating to squad depth and dipping into the summer transfer window would definitely help his cause. Palace clearly need more depth in their attacking options to compete with the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend and Jeffrey Schlupp. But first and foremost, they need a bonafide goal-scorer.

The Eagles need to find an upgrade to Christian Benteke, who has endured an injury-hit campaign and is yet to break his duck this term. That said, Hodgson should surely offload Benteke in the summer and replace him with Karl Toko Ekambi.

A tall, strong and rangy striker, Ekambi is also comfortable playing out wide on the left. The 26-year-old is known for his pace, power, dribbling and agility, whilst also boasting of relentless work-rate to go with his incredible eye for goal.

His strength and work ethic should allow him to cope with the physical nature of the Premier League, while his pace, directness and willingness to run at defenders should make him a perfect fit for Hodgson’s counter-attacking system at Selhurst Park.

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The former Angers and Sochaux man’s link-up play in the final third is highly commendable and would make the likes of Townsend and Zaha deadly on the counter.

Furthermore, the Cameroon international’s versatility to play as a number 9 and also on the left flank should boost Hodgson’s team dynamics significantly.

Verdict

Ekambi has all the qualities to thrive in the Premier League and make Palace’s attacking unit a formidable one. Once he settles in, the 26-year-old could be a massive asset to Hodgson’s Eagles.

Written by Rohan Sengupta

Hi, I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.
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