Odsonne Edouard and Crystal Palace could be a perfect match
Crystal Palace left it late to get the new centre forward they had targeted all summer but their £15m signing of Odsonne Edouard certainly ticked a box. The highly-rated Frenchman won’t just give Patrick Vieira’s side cutting edge, his addition could be the final part of the restoration of the Eagles as an attacking force.
Edouard had previously been on Arsenal’s radar having impressed north of the border. Not only was the Frenchman a key figure for a Celtic team that won nine league titles in a row, he proved himself at Europa League for the Hoops and U21 level for France. The 23-year-old is ready to take the next step.
That Palace paid just £15m for Edouard is a reflection of the striker’s contract situation, with Celtic desperate to cash in on a player with less than a year left on his deal, rather than his potential. While it might take the 23-year-old some time to acclimatise to his new surroundings, he is expected to thrive in the Premier League.
Christian Benteke enjoyed a strong season last term, scoring 10 goals in 30 league appearances to earn himself a new contract. Edouard will, in theory, be a more natural fit for the team Vieira is building at Palace, though. The Frenchman is capable in the air, but is more comfortable with the ball at his feet. Benteke can’t match Edouard for technical ability.
With Edouard now captured, Palace have the potential to grow into one of the most dynamic and exciting attacking outfits in the Premier League, in stark contrast to the way they were under Roy Hodgson. Vieira’s team is still a work-in-progress but the former Arsenal midfielder clearly wants his side to entertain.
Wilfried Zaha remains at Selhurst Park and having been Crystal Palace’s sole attacking outlet for a number of seasons, but he no longer needs to do it all on his own in the final third. In fact, Eberechi Eze might now be the Eagles’ brightest creative spark, with the 23-year-old shining last season.
Of course, Eze is currently sidelined with a long-term injury but when he returns the attacking midfielder will rejoin a team that is now better suited to his qualities. Edouard could prove to be the perfect attacking apex for Palace with Eze on one side and Zaha on the other. This attack will rank among the most potent in the Premier League.
Then there’s Connor Gallagher behind the front three. The on-loan Chelsea midfielder has made an instant impact at Selhurst Park and has spoken about adding more goals to his game after bagging a brace in the 2-2 draw away to West Ham before the international break. Gallagher could be another supply line into Viera’s new-look attack with new signing Michael Olise also still to be integrated into the team.
“In France everyone knows him. So for me it’s big to play for him and I’m looking forward to progressing a lot with him,” Edouard said of Vieira upon signing for Crystal Palace. “The way the team play, the level of the players there, the new manager. For me as well it’s a new challenge, the best league for me so I can’t say no to this team.”
Edouard is right to talk about the way Palace play. The Frenchman had a number of opportunities to leave Celtic for the Premier League before he ultimately did, but seemingly held out to join a team that would play to his strengths as a modern centre forward. Edouard and Crystal Palace could be perfect for each other.
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