New Crystal Palace Player In Profile - Joachim Andersen

Written by Alex Pewter

What can Crystal Palace fans expect of the club's latest signing? Here's Alex Pewter with the lowdown. 



Crystal Palace centre-back signings, much like London buses, have arrived all at once, as Joachim Andersen has signed from Olympique Lyonnais for a deal reportedly around €17.5m with addons on a five-year contract. The twenty-five-year-old Danish defender came to Premier League fans' attention last season on loan at Fulham, but his career path to date has taken him across Europe before landing in England. 

Having left his native Denmark as a teenager, opting to develop his game in the Netherlands for FC Twente, Andersen established himself as a starting defender at 19 years old. Sampdoria seized upon FC Twente's financial issues in the summer of 2017 and snapped up the centre-back for around €1.5m to give Andersen his first chance at a top-five league in Europe. After a season primarily as a substitute, Andersen shone at their defence's heart, starting 32 matches. Playing in Marco Giampaolo's 4-2-3-1 formation, he was a high-volume passer ending with the 10th most completed passes in Serie A, whilst frequently carrying the ball out of defence as they advanced the ball. 

Andersen's upward trajectory continued as his Sampdoria performances drew the attention of Lyon, who signed him for more than €20m in the summer of 2019. Having started 17 times in Ligue 1 whilst making his Champions League debut as the club made their way to the Semi-Finals of the competition, Andersen's time abruptly ended at the start of the 2020-21 season as he left for Fulham on loan. Whilst his season at Fulham ended in relegation, his standing in the game was elevated, impressing against the top teams in the division whilst earning the captain's armband.


Playing Style

First and foremost, Andersen is an intelligent defender. His positioning ability gives him an excellent chance to intercept the ball or win in the air. His defensive workload at Fulham was far higher than he had experienced at either Sampdoria or Lyon, doubling his tackles and interceptions per 90min but in doing so gave teams like Palace plenty of data to analyse his performances against the league's elite.  

As a passer, Andersen is very accurate when simply retaining possession across the backline, but his ability to quickly switch play from a distance is his real strength. His highlight long passes for Fulham last season made him a creative outlet from their half, ending on par with players like Harry Maguire for completed long passes over 30 yards in the Premier League. The ability to intercept the ball and immediately to be able to spring a counter-attack gives him a direct part in creating goal-scoring opportunities from a turnover. 

Listed at around 190cm (6'3") tall, Andersen has the prototypical size teams covet at the back. He was tested in the air at Fulham almost twice as much as his previous full season for Sampdoria. Winning nearly 75% of his aerial challenges, he held up well in a league deemed to be more "physical" than others he has played.

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Photo by Steffen Prößdorf


Doubling down on the centre back position is a big statement from Crystal Palace. Both acquisitions have likely used up a large percentage of the transfer budget but are the foundation Patrick Vieira can build on. The long-term goal must be a partnership with Joachim Andersen and Marc Guéhi, a complete turnaround in a single transfer window, and a credit to Dougie Freedman and the board.

Andersen is only just 25 and, in theory, a couple of years off the start of his prime years. He's already battle-tested in different leagues and formations, either in a four-person setup at Sampdoria and Fulham or on occasion as the central player in a three-person system at Lyon. As Patrick Vieira's strategy of playing out from defence develops, having a player not only capable of recycling the ball but having the vision and ability to switch play to break the press will be vital. 

Given Andersen's quick ascension to captaincy at Fulham, a rare feat for a loan player, his presence ought to help to fill the leadership void left in the wake of Scott Dann, Mamadou Sakho, and Gary Cahill. In theory, the move leaves the club with more than enough depth across the backline, possibly even affording them the chance to sell one of the older centre backs if the opportunity arises. The priority now shifts onto attacking players, particularly out wide.