He was one of the standout stars of Uruguay’s impressive World Cup campaign and now, Diego Laxalt is being linked with a move to Crystal Palace.
Instantly recognisable thanks to his lengthy braids, the 25-year-old was operating at left-back throughout Uruguay’s time in Russia, winning thousands of admirers thanks to his tireless work-rate and willingness to throw himself into tackles.
It’s worth noting that for his club side, (Genoa) Diego normally plays in a more advanced role on the left wing but happily adapted his game during the World Cup as a consequence of his country’s needs. Given that level of versatility, it’s no surprise to see Palace interested in signing him, even though there are seemingly a host of other clubs lining up to take him off the Serie A outfit’s hands.
The report which first gave light to this story names Benfica, Valencia, Wolfsburg and Galatasaray alongside Palace as just some of the teams who hold an interest in Laxalt during the current window, with Genoa set to ask for between €15-20 million to sanction a sale, given Laxalt’s growing reputation across the planet.
Every World Cup produces its fair share of breakout stars; it’s just the nature of the game and whilst many fall back into obscurity soon after, it’s difficult to see how Diego’s never-say-die attitude could see him flop were he to leave Genoa for bigger and better things.
Whilst the story makes a great deal of sense personnel-wise for Palace, (Bakary Sako’s departure leaves us worryingly short in wide areas) I can’t help but feel as though our name has just been floated in the Italian press as a way of pushing up the interest in Laxalt. If he is indeed set to cost close to €20 million, every story up until now points towards him being out of our price-range, unless we’ve found a miraculous loophole in the Financial Fair Play regulations over the last 48 hours.
I actually picked Diego out on Twitter as one of Uruguay’s star performers when their World Cup campaign came to an end at the hands of France, so I for one would love to see make the switch to SE25 but for now, this story has very little to suggest that it has serious legs from a Palace perspective. If that changes, I’ll do my best to update you straightaway.