The transfer window is open again and Alan Pardew admitted he needs a striker or two. Especially with Connor Wickham out injured, Patrick Bamford off in a huff back to Chelsea and Fraizer Campbell, well...being Fraizer Campbell.
But who should Palace go after in January? Ryan Carraro runs the rule over six potential signings.
Perhaps the most fanciful target on this list, Palace - alongside seemingly every other mid to top level side in Europe - have been linked with a move for highly rated Marseille frontman Batshuayi. And for good reason; at just 22 he is scoring and assisting at a regular rate in France’s top flight, becoming one of the leagues standout attackers in a short space of time. As a tall, young Belgian international striker he will inevitably draw comparisons to compatriots Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke; both Premier League success stories.
Batshuayi is, however, more creative in style than those two with more of a tendency to dribble and create goals, as well as score. He appears the complete package and many big clubs agree; he's been linked with Arsenal, Spurs, and Atletico Madrid. To be honest it’s hard to see him playing in red and blue any time soon, but stranger things have happened and we did signing a certain Yohan Cabaye this summer. Unforunately, Batshuayi recently signed a new contract at Marseille, reducing Palace's chances of landing him this window.
Last summer saw the first reports of Remy to Palace surface, with many perhaps fairly deeming the prospect unlikely. Six months down the line and the prospect seems far more possible, with the turmoil at Chelsea hinting at a reshuffle of the champions' squad. Remy is possible to be one of the players moved on, providing the Blues sign a striker or two this month. Remy played the best football of his Premier League career under Alan Pardew at Newcastle, and his relationship with the manager, alongside former team-mate Cabaye, would likely be key to any potential signing.
Tall, fast, and direct, he would add yet another pacey threat alongside Yannick Bolasie or Wilf Zaha in a lineup that would be sure to terrify opposing defenders. Whilst he’s been mostly spent his time warming the bench at Chelsea, he is a player of undoubted class, earning 31 caps for the French national side. If the Blues do decide to let him leave, the Eagles will face competition for his signature (with Aston Villa for some reason linked), but in a team on the up, with the opportunity to again be one of the main men, who’s to say Remy wouldn’t move across London to score goals in SE25?
Perhaps one of the clearest indicators yet of how far Palace have come can be found in the widespread reports linking the club with Juventus’ Italian international striker Simone Zaza. Despite an impressive scoring record a goal every other game, the former Sampdoria man has nonetheless found playing time hard to come by, having to play back up to preferred strikers Morata, Mandzukic, and Dybala; admittedly a trio most strikers would have a tough time displacing.
Other than potential for a Zaza/Zaha commentating nightmare, it is clear that the seven-cap international would bring goals, quality and power to a Palace side who have only had one goal from any recognised strikers this season. At 6ft 1in and well-built he appears able to cope with the physicality of the Premier League, as well as hold the ball up in the role Connor Wickham has been playing to great effect. An eye watering price tag of €25m has been quoted, but a loan deal may be possible, with the player needing time on the pitch to secure involvement at Euro 2016.
Staying in Italy, Palace have also been linked with Florentina'a young Senegalese striker Khouma Babacar. Just 22 and scoring every other game in Serie A this season, the towering 6ft 3in frontman appears to be exactly what we need to add the finishing touch to the myriad chances created by our wingers.
He’d feel right at home in a youthful team featuring several French speaking players, not to mention the presence of a compatriot in Pape Souare. Despite being a hardworking, physical striker, a quick trip to YouTube will show you that he’s much more than just a target man, with clips of several stunning long range finishes, an attribute that could be key to making the difference in games against teams who come to Selhurst to sit back. Dubbed ‘the Senegalese Drogba’ by Seneweb (no bias, of course) Babacar could well prove to be a fantastic signing.
Following QPR’s relegation from the Premier League, and a protracted will he-wont-he summer transfer window, Charlie Austin appears to have been somewhat forgotten. Needing no introduction to anyone who even vaguely followed the premier league las season, the fairytale of Austin’s rise from non-league to an international call up is well documented, not that this detracts from the achievement of scoring 18 Premier League goals for a struggling team in his maiden season. He’s kept up his touch in front of goal in the championship, netting 10 in 16, despite another underwhelming season for the R’s.
Despite being quoted £15m last summer, Austin looks to be on the market for considerably less this January, as he enters the final six months of his contract, and with QPR closer to relegation than promotion, they will be open to a cut price deal rather than lose him for nothing next summer. His physicality and scoring touch make him seem ideal to fill the Glenn Murray shaped hole up front, a player who was arguably not adequately replaced following his departure to Bournemouth. There seems no reason why this can’t come off, with Austin himself likely keen to prove his sole season in the premier league was no fluke, as well as try to force himself back into Roy Hodgson’s thinking.
Over the last few windows, Palace have been consistently linked with the Algerian, who has been in considerable form for Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon this season. Slimani really came onto the scene at the 2014 World Cup, scoring two goals and even proving a real handful against eventual champions Germany, leading to transfer rumours across Europe, with goal scorers such a valuable commodity. Despite this, he’s stayed in Portugal and is currently in excellent form, having scored seven goals in 10 league matches, as well as netting in the Champions League.
At 27 years old, he is just entering his peak years as a striker and his remarkable aerial ability would be a huge asset for us, considering the volume of crosses our wingers get in, and the quality of our deliveries from set pieces. He won’t come cheap at a rumoured £10m-£15m, but as a physical, prolific striker, he definitely fits the bill.
Who should Palace go for? Comment below!