In years gone by, plenty of Palace fans have held the view that the club’s scouts fail to look deep enough into the European leagues for talented yet cheap alternatives to the Premier League’s astronomically priced stars but this latest story bucks that trend rather dramatically.
According to Spanish sporting newspaper Marca, the Eagles are keeping tabs on 20-year-old Mallorca defender Joan Sastre with a view to meeting the full-back’s release clause over the summer. Admittedly, La Liga heavyweights Atlético Madrid are also mentioned as a potential destination for the youngster but even so, it does at least show that our tentacles are reaching further than they have for many years.
Whilst Aaron Wan-Bissaka has burst onto the scene from nowhere to establish himself as a regular in the Palace side of late, his age (also 20) and lack of professional experience is likely to leave us looking for another option to play a part in the squad ahead of the 2018/19 season getting underway.
It’s worth remembering that Timothy Fosu-Mensah will almost certainly be returning to parent club Manchester United when the terms of his current loan deal with us expire, whilst Joel Ward’s future in SE25 remains far from certain after one or two suggestions that the long-term first-team regular has been weighing up a move away rather than putting pen to paper on a new deal.
Keeping all of that in mind, a bid for Sastre, whilst he remains untested at anything like Premier League level, may prove to be a shrewd piece of business on our part. With a release clause believed to top out at around €5 million, you’d assume the club could accommodate his fee into our summer budget without much fuss, potentially securing the services of another talented young player with huge sell-on value before too many of Europe’s big boys attempt to steal a march on us.
After a January window which saw us fail to land the likes of Vicente Guaita, Frederick Ronnow or Ibrahim Amadou, we’vd all been left hoping that those behind the scenes are making a cohesive plan for the summer window as we speak. This particular story does suggest that foundations are already being laid.
Watch this space.