This afternoon, Crystal Palace have officially announced the loan signing of 21-year-old Swedish midfielder Erdal Rakip until the end of the season, following on from his permanent move to Benfica.
As you can see from his first interview with Chris Grierson, the Malmo academy graduate is particularly keen to work under the watchful eye of Roy Hodgson, who is a genuine legend at the Swedish club, having won them five consecutive league titles between 1985 and 1989 alongside two Swedish cups. Understandably, Malmo’s supporters still idolise Roy to this day and have christened one corner of the club’s stadium Roy’s Hörna” (Roy’s Corner).
Earlier on today, Palace’s fans had worked themselves into something of a frenzy after a report surfaced in A Bola to suggest that Benfica were attempting to pull the plug on a move after Filip Krovinović, another one of their midfielders, suffered a season-ending injury but thankfully, the article in question proved to be completely without basis, following the completion of all the necessary paperwork over the weekend.
When asked about what Eagles fans can expect from him, Rakip describes himself as a typical number six, happily running between both penalty areas in a bid to support the team’s transition in both defensive and attacking patterns of play. Obviously, given his age, we should probably expect it to take him a few weeks to get to grips with the pace of play in England but on the face of things, we look to have an adept ball-playing central midfielder on our hands.
Having seemingly lost the services of Ruben Loftus-Cheek for the foreseeable future, Erdal’s arrival will go a long way towards stabilising Roy Hodgson’s options from the bench in the coming weeks, with what happens to him in the summer likely to be decided by how he performs between now and May. Of course, there’s every chance that he’ll wave goodbye at the end of the campaign and head straight into Benfica’s first-team but if he really does start to pull up trees in SE25, I’m sure the board will feel compelled to explore the possibility of a permanent move with the Portuguese giants.
A video version of the interview referenced above will be available on www.eagles.cpfc.co.uk later today but until then, tide yourself over with a written version of what he had to say.