According to Daily Mail, Crystal Palace are interested in signing young French defender Rayan Ait-Nouri from Ligue 1 side Angers but face competition from Atletico Madrid.
Rayan Ait-Nouri is only 18 but has already represented France Under 21s. He has had an impressive campaign with Angers so far, racking up two assists in 16 games. The player is contracted to Le SCO until 2021, with the Ligue 1 club wanting around the £25m mark for their starlet, the report adds.
That being said, Crystal Palace must do everything possible to beat Atletico Madrid to Rayan Ait-Nouri’s signing.
On Friday, the Eagles confirmed the arrival of striker Cenk Tosun from Everton on loan until the end of the season. Having addressed one of the most pressing concerns in the squad with the signing of Tosun, Roy Hodgson must now shift his focus towards shoring up his backline.
Failure to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka before the start of the season has cost Palace dearly, with the right-back proving last season how good a defender he is. Palace have conceded 24 goals in 22 games, which is a good return for a side that is often organized and disciplined at the back.
They often play compact, defend deep and hit hard on the break with quick players like Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayew and Andros Townsend.
In order to tighten up their screws further, Hodgson must improve his full-back options by injecting fresh blood into his squad. As far as the left-back position is concerned, Patrick van Aanholt has been the undisputed no.1 under Hodgson.
Jairo Riedewald has deputized whenever Van Aanholt has been absent this term. But the Eagles must find a long-term successor for Van Aanholt now that he is 29.
Having said that, Rayan Ait-Nouri would be a smart fit at the London Stadium. This is Ait-Nouri’s breakthrough season in the French top flight, where he has made 16 appearances – 15 of which have been starts – and leading to clubs circling for his signature.
As per WhoScored, the 18-year-old has averaged 1.8 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, 1.5 clearances and 0.1 blocks. With two assists and 0.5 key passes made, he has also contributed to the team’s cause going forward. All in all, Ait-Nouri would be the player that provides both defensive diligence and attacking flair to the Eagles.
At the age of 18, the France-born defender has a long way to go in order to fulfil his potential. A move to Palace should do well for him as Ait-Nouri can slowly adapt to the Premier League before replacing Van Aanholt on the long run.
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