Crystal Palace would benefit signing this 51-goal veteran for free as they chase top-6 finish

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Why Crystal Palace should quickly snap up Nemanja Nikolic

According to the Daily Mail, Crystal Palace are one of the clubs interested in signing Nemanja Nikolic on a free transfer after his contract expired at Chicago Fire.

One of the hottest goal-scorers in American football over the last few seasons, Nemanja Nikolic, 32, won the MLS Golden Boot in 2017. The Hungarian ended his three-year spell in the United States scoring 51 goals in 96 appearances for Fire, bagging 13 in his last season.

The report adds Olympiakos and Besiktas have both discussed offering him a contract but the veteran striker prefers to play in England.

Hungary’s Nemanja Nikolic runs with the ball during a friendly football match against Costa Rica on November 14, 2017 in Groupama Arena of Budapest. (Getty Images)

As far as Crystal Palace are concerned, they have completed the signings of two players this month – Cenk Tosun on loan from Everton and Scott Banks from Dundee United.

Tosun, who struggled to live up to the lofty expectations at Everton since joining from Besiktas in January 2018, made an instant impact for Crystal Palace, scoring in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City last weekend.

However, going by Tosun’s record at Everton – 10 goals in 51 appearances—it doesn’t fill with much promise for the goal-shy Palace side. The Eagles have scored only 22 goals in 24 games and those numbers are simply not good enough.

Jordan Ayew has led Palace’s attack very well this campaign and despite him now getting support in form of Tosun, Roy Hodgson’s side still lack a prolific goalscorer in their ranks.

Nemanja Nikolic #23 of Chicago Fire reacts after Cruz Azul scored in the second half at SeatGeek Stadium on July 23, 2019 in Bridgeview, Illinois. (Getty Images)

Nemanja Nikolic could be that player for the South Londoners. He has enjoyed three fantastic years in the United States with Chicago Fire, scoring goals left, right and centre.

Before his spell in the MLS, the 32-year-old netted 40 in 54 appearances in Poland for Legia Warsaw. Thus, there’s no doubting Nikolic’s goalscoring pedigree as he’s shown there’s still life in him yet, following his 13-goal last season with Chicago Fire.

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Roy Hodgson of Crystal Palace looks on prior to the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Norwich City at Selhurst Park. (Getty Images)

The Hungarian would undoubtedly add quality to Palace’s attacking ranks as well as depth to the squad. With Christian Benteke enduring another nightmare campaign at Selhurst Park and Connor Wickham a target for Sheffield Wednesday (h/t The Daily Mail), the Eagles would do well to sign Nikolic.

Verdict

On a free transfer, Nikolic could turn out to be a shrewd piece of business for Palace, who have a real chance of achieving a top-six finish this season given their points tally right now.

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. Follow me @garrydevildada

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