Crystal Palace opinion: Soumaoro could evolve into a solid utility player
MSN understands that Eagles manager Roy Hodgson is looking to strengthen his defensive options ahead of the upcoming campaign and has identified the 27-year-old as someone who could possibly add more depth to the club’s options at the back.
The same report claims that Soumaoro has also attracted interest from some unnamed German clubs, although Lille are keen to hold on to the player.
Soumaoro is currently coming off an impressive campaign with Lille this past season where he made 20 appearances in Ligue 1 to propel his club to a runners-up finish behind champions PSG.
The 27-year-old wasn’t a sure starter for Lille week-in-week-out but he played a key role at the heart of the defence, nevertheless.
Born in Frace to parents of Malian descent, Soumaoro came through the youth ranks at Lille as a versatile defender and started playing for the reserves back in 2011 before making his Ligue 1 debut in the 2013-14 season.
After spending a couple of seasons in the periphery of the first-team, Soumaoro finally established himself as one of the mainstays of the backline in the 2015-16 campaign.
Currently one of the key players at the club, the 27-year-old has registered a total of 109 appearances for Lille in all competitions, scoring thrice in the process.
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace are yet to flex their muscles in the transfer window this summer but the big-money sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Man United has boosted the club’s funds significantly.
Hence, the fans at Selhurst Park have every reason to anticipate a few new arrivals over the next couple of weeks before the deadline, as the Eagles continue to blow the potential suitors for Wilfried Zaha out of the water with their ridiculous valuation of the Ivorian forward.
To put things into perspective, Roy Hodgson apparently looks keen to strengthen his defensive options, following the departures of full-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Pape Souare.
The Eagles’ links with Adama Soumaoro might not make too much noise amongst the fans at Selhurst Park but this might as well prove to be a smart piece of business for Hodgson and a real coup for Palace.
Standing at 6ft 2in with a sinewy frame, Soumaoro is essentially a centre-back by trade but he is more than capable of playing as a right-back due to his pace and agility.
Noted for his physicality, anticipation, calmness, composure, technical abilities on the ball and supreme aerial prowess, the 27-year-old is about to enter his prime years as a defender and one would expect him to acclimatise to the high standards of the Premier League in due course of time.
It is still unclear as to what kind of role Hodgson has in mind for Soumaoro, although it seems likely that the manager is looking at him as someone who could possibly come into the side this summer and provide cover and competition in multiple areas across the backline.
Soumaoro, who is quite capable of playing as a makeshift right-back, could be set to compete with the likes of Joel Ward and Martin Kelly to fill in the void left by Wan-Bissaka’s departure.
Given that the centre-back pairing of Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins did quite well the last term, with Scott Dann playing as back-up following his return from injury, Hodgson might not be too keen to experiment with his central defensive options.
In all honesty, Palace would be better off investing in a specialist right-back because Soumaoro, though capable of playing in a full-back role, won’t offer the same kind of attacking pedigree that someone like Wan-Bissaka did last season.
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Soumaoro might evolve into a useful player at Selhurst Park in the years to come and the price tag doesn’t look too daunting but the Eagles must be careful not to pay too much over the odds should Lille raise their asking price.