Why Hamari Traore would be a smart signing for Crystal Palace
Back in August 2019, The Sun had claimed that Crystal Palace were looking at Rennes’ Hamari Traore to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka. However, no deal materialised and the right-back stayed put at Rennes.
Hamari Traore, 27, joined Rennes from Reims in 2017 and has since been a consistent performer for the club. He has made 20 Ligue 1 appearances this season, supplying three assists.
The Mali international has been a regular fixture since the start of the 2019/20 campaign, and with the right-back impressing in Ligue 1, Crystal Palace must rekindle their interest in him this month.
The Eagles have been a disciplined and organised unit under Roy Hodgson, conceding only 28 goals in 24 games. Gary Cahill has made a good impact since joining the club on a free transfer from Chelsea before the start of the season, building a strong partnership at the back with James Tomkins.
While Crystal Palace must prioritise strengthening their attack, even after signing Cenk Tosun on loan from Everton until the end of the season, they must not forget to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka during this transfer window.
Joel Ward started the season as Palace’s first-choice right-back following the departure of Wan-Bissaka. However, constant injuries to veteran Ward, especially in recent weeks, have become a cause of concern for the Eagles. Martin Kelly has deputised in Ward’s absence, but the right-back area continues to remain problematic.
To put things into perspective, none of Ward or Kelly has done enough to convince at right-back and Hodgson should recruit Hamari Traore from Rennes.
As per WhoScored, Traore has averaged 2.1 tackles, 1.7 interceptions, 2 clearances and 0.2 blocks in 20 Ligue 1 appearances. Going forward, he has assisted thrice and made 1.1 key passes per game.
As far as Ward is concerned, the Palace right-back has played just 13 league games due to injury problems. He has averaged 2.2 tackles, 1.7 interceptions, 3.3 clearances and 0.3 blocks. Offensively, he is yet to contribute with a goal or an assist. [Courtesy: WhoScored]
Though Ward has better numbers in certain areas, it has to be noted that he has played lesser than Traore. Although not an instant upgrade on Ward (in terms of statistics), he would be a good option to add strength to the right-back position.
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Ward has done a decent job this season but he is not a long-term solution at right-back for Palace. He is 30 years old and has struggled with injuries. On the contrary, Traore is 27 years old and seems to have more years left in him than Ward. Irrespective of the statistics, this is one good reason why Crystal Palace must consider signing Traore.
He is simply at the perfect stage of his career to test himself in England and a move to Palace would be great for him. Thus, it would be wise if the Eagles land Traore this January.