Crystal Palace are one of a selection of clubs believed to have tabled a bid for Luton Town full-back James Justin, following the news that Aston Villa were keen on landing him ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.
At just 19, Justin has been attracting interest all season long given his impressive displays in the Luton back-line, prompting the Eagles to throw their hat into the ring alongside Villa, Southampton and Leicester City in the race for the teenager’s signature.
After winning the League One title with the Hatters earlier this month, Justin has a season in the Championship to look forward to should he stay put but with his contract set to expire in the summer of 2020, his current employers may be tempted into a sale if the price they receive is high enough. At the time of writing, it’s thought that Dean Smith and co. have tabled an offer of £7.5 million for James after having a smaller bid turned down in the January transfer window but with their potential promotion to the Premier League sitting on a knife-edge, Palace or Southampton could well end up having the last laugh.
Although comfortable playing on either side of a back four, Justin is at his most natural when placed on the left, opening the door for him to oust current starting Palace left-back Patrick van Aanholt, if the Eagles’ interest becomes concrete in the coming days. With Pape Souare set to leave Selhurst Park when his contract expires at the end of June and Jeffrey Schlupp now seen as a central midfielder by Roy Hodgson, there’s certainly a place within the squad for the Luton man to make his own if the cards fall correctly between now and August.
People may raise their eyebrows at the thought of paying in excess of £8 million for a teenage defender who’s just made it into the second tier but much the same as Palace’s valuation of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, we’d be paying for the Luton man’s potential for further improvement as much as his current skill-set, should a deal come to fruition.
It’s certainly an exciting story to track in the coming weeks.