Why Paulo Diaz would be a smart signing for Crystal Palace
Back in July, the Daily Star had claimed that Crystal Palace were interested in signing Al-Ahli star Paulo Diaz as Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s replacement. However, a move didn’t materialise and he went onto join River Plate in the summer.
Paulo Diaz, 25, rose to prominence with his boyhood club Palestino and had a brief stint at Colo-Colo before moving across the continent to join Argentinian club San Lorenzo in 2016. The Chilean spent two solid seasons at San Lorenzo before moving to Al-Ahli in 2018.
Since joining Argentinean heavyweights River Plate, the 25-year-old hasn’t been a regular starter at the club. He has managed just five starts in the league and one substitute appearance till date.
It hasn’t been all rosy for Diaz, and even though he joined River Plate in the summer, Crystal Palace must reignite their interest in the defender during the January transfer window.
Indeed, Palace are in desperate need of a new right-back at the moment, with Joel Ward out until the new year having suffered a serious knee injury during the defeat to Liverpool last weekend.
This has left Roy Hodgson desperately short at full-back. Martin Kelly is a centre-back by trade but is capable of playing at right-back and he’s likely to deputise at right-back until Ward returns.
Considering the Eagles are lacking real quality and depth in defensive ranks, most importantly at right-back, a move for Paulo Diaz would definitely make sense.
Essentially a right-back by trade, Diaz is equally adept at playing as a left-back and also at the heart of the defence as a centre-back. As a matter of fact, he was also used as a defensive midfielder quite regularly at Al-Ahli, meaning that the Chilean’s presence in the ranks could hand a significant boost to Hodgson’s squad depth.
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Palace have a very good counter-attacking system in a traditionally rigid 4-4-2 formation, which has seen them upset some of the ‘Big Six’ teams in the last two seasons. Hodgson has massively improved some young players at Palace and Diaz could also benefit under the tutelage of the former England manager.
Keeping that in mind, Palace should go all out to sign Diaz from River Plate in January. Wan-Bissaka’s departure has left a huge void in Hodgson’s squad, which a versatile player like Diaz would be the right man to fill it.