Crystal Palace may be unable to bring any new faces into the first-team squad until January but according to a report in French football outlet L’Equipe, we have reached an agreement in principle for the exit of Belgian winger Jason Lokilo with Ligue 2 side Lorient over the last few days.
Born in Brussels, the 19-year-old has been part of the Eagles’ academy set-up since 2015, playing regularly at youth level throughout much of the last two seasons. Despite standing at just 5’9, Jason has always been talked up within the academy structure, impressing on pre-season tours and against Ipswich Town in a League Cup tie during the opening weeks of the 2017/18 campaign.
Sadly, regardless of his early promise, it doesn’t look as though he’s making any real strides towards breaking into Roy Hodgson’s matchday squads, leaving both he and the Palace hierarchy with the task of finding a suitable new home for him in the short-term.
If the report referenced above is to be believed, Lokilo will initially move to Lorient on a season-long loan deal, with a pre-arranged permanent option also in place, should the teenager do well in the coming months. Whilst part of me is sad to see a talented young player readying himself to fly the nest, it’s fair to say that his first-team opportunities will be bordering on non-existent in SE25 this term, barring another spectacular injury crisis for Roy Hodgson and co.
In truth, deals like the one which brought Lokilo to Palace from Anderlecht’s academy pose an infinitely small risk for us whilst having a potentially huge upside, if the player in question hits the ground running upon their arrival. Should it not quite work out, the least we can do at this stage is allow them to move on, hoping that the coaching we’ve given them can aid their attempts to carve out a career in the professional game.
I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on his progress between now and May.