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Forget It Hodgson – Why Crystal Palace Should Avoid Signing This 35-Year Old Free Agent

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Alberto Gilardino

Why Roy Hodgson Should Avoid Signing Gilardino And Look At Some Other Player Instead

Another game, another goalless show from Crystal Palace! There is a pattern building for all wrong reasons at South London and manager Roy Hodgson needs to try something, get a solution as fast as possible to take his team out of this rut.

After becoming the first side in the competition’s history to fail to score in any of the first six fixtures, they were unable to find the net for the 7th time in a row, against Manchester United. Jose Mourinho’s United swept aside Palace 4-0, in what turned out to be another chastening defeat and a long afternoon for Hodgson.

It’s fair to say that right now Crystal Palace are in a very bad place. The players are lacking confidence, morale and look with depleted spirits. And the last thing the team didn’t want to see was their best striker getting injured.

Christian Benteke went off injured against Manchester City on September 23, with the Belgian now facing six weeks on the sidelines with a knee ligament injury. After Palace’s 4-0 defeat by United at the weekend, Hodgson, who played Mali winger Bakary Sako as an auxiliary striker, bemoaned the lack of striker options.

“We don’t have many options – you saw the young boy Freddie Ladapo come on for his first Premier League game after being signed from non-league a couple of years ago, and he’s never had a sniff of first-team football,” the Palace boss said.

“That’s the situation we find ourselves in – I’m not crying or complaining about it,” he added.

With the transfer window well shut and not opening anytime soon, Palace need to look at free agents if they eye attacking reinforcements. According to various reports, Palace are considering a move for 35-year-old striker Alberto Gilardino to fill the void left by Benteke’s injury.

Gilardino has been without a club since leaving Pescara at the end of last season where he scored no goals in three appearances. He was previously linked with a move to Major League Soccer with Montreal Impact, but hasn’t moved yet.

A vastly experienced striker, Gilardino is renowned for his time at AC Milan and Fiorentina where he scored 84 Serie A goals in 212 appearances for the two Italian clubs. The veteran won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and the Champions League with AC Milan in 2007. With 188 Serie A goals, Gilardino is currently among the top 10 all-time scorers in Serie A history.

Gilardino, in his early career was compared to Filippo Inzaghi due to his opportunism, positional sense and eye for goal. But at 35, the Italian lacks pace and energy, which is higher in the Premier League than the Serie A. The intensity with which the Premier League goes might see the former Milan man struggle to keep up.

However, with wealth of experience under him, Gilardino can inspire Hodgson’s Palace, who certainly lack a leader at the moment. But more than a leader, Hodgson’s desperate need lies in a quick, agile and prolific goal-scorer able to take them out of the muddle that they are in.

A few years back, Gilardino had all the aforementioned traits and could well walk into this Palace side. But with Gilardino no more his old-self, Hodgson could well dodge this bullet and look elsewhere for a targetman; someone similar to the injured striker Benteke.

Even if Hodgson signs Gilardino, he as well as the Palace fans would pray the World Cup winner to roll back the years.

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