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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Palace must move for Naouirou Ahamada

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Crystal Palace have reportedly had a bid accepted for Stuttgart midfielder Naouirou Ahamada…

What’s the word?

According to the Evening Standard, the south London outfit have succeeded with a £10.5m offer for one of the Bundesliga club’s most coveted young assets.

The 20-year-old Frenchman is now scheduled to complete a medical ahead of a move to Selhurst Park, where he could join a talented crop of young players under Patrick Vieira’s tutelage.

This follows on from The Athletic‘s Crystal Palace correspondent Matt Woosnam, who stated several days prior that negotiations were in full swing.

Vieira’s own Musah

With midfield being something of a problem position for the Eagles this season, as highlighted by Woosnam, Vieira has seemingly taken the requisite steps towards trying to bolster that position and leaving the club in good stead to remain well above the Premier League relegation zone.

Blossoming into his own this season, Ahamada could bring the fire back to a furnace depleted of coals following the departure of loanee Conor Gallagher last summer, with the Chelsea man having scored eight Premier League goals in south London during his loan spell at Palace.

Contrast that to the current campaign, with none of the Eagles’ central or defensive midfielders even managing one top-flight goal just beyond the halfway point of the season.

Having made 18 appearances this season – including 17 starts in the league – the “crazy” talent (as Ahamada was dubbed by talent scout Jacek Kulig) has emerged as a key cog in Stuttgart’s system, following a 2021/22 campaign which saw him make only seven appearances across all competitions, albeit with injuries playing a large part.

As per FBref, the starlet ranks within the top 27% of midfielders across Europe for rate of goals and assists, the top 21% for dribbles completed and the top 17% for progressive passes received, illustrating a dynamic and forward-thinking nature which has seen him score twice and provide two assists so far in 2022/23.

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FBref lists the Stuttgart gem as a comparable player to Valencia’s Yunus Musah, who has been of interest to the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool this season following his feats in La Liga and on the international stage with the USA.

Musah ranks among the top 9% of positional peers for dribbles completed and progressive passes received, and indeed serves as one of the most exciting transitional players on the market at present.

Ahamada’s injury history is worrying for a player so young, but his capabilities alone prove that signing him seems a gamble worth taking, and Vieira could yet unleash his very own Musah in swift time by bringing his compatriot to Selhurst Park. He could be just what the Eagles need in order to reinvigorate a goal-shy midfield.

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