Can Sakho, Heaton and Moukandjo help strengthen Crystal Palace next season?

Crystal Palace will be looking to strengthen their squad over the summer      Pic: Christine McIntosh

Crystal Palace face fellow strugglers Hull City in a crucial match to secure Premier League survival for the 2017/2018 campaign. At 38 points, retaining their place in the league looks likely for Palace but is not yet assured for the south east London club.

The season has been far from ideal for The Eagles, having failed to capitalise on their big-money summer signing of Christian Benteke, as well as spending the majority of the season at the bottom of the table.

Palace will be looking to strengthen their squad in the summer with new recruits, and hopefully help them achieve a more favourable position in the league next season.

One of their major targets for the summer is French centre-back Mamadou Sakho of Liverpool. Sakho has been playing for Palace since the January transfer window, when he joined the club on loan due to a fall-out with the current Liverpool manager.

Mamadou Sakho takes a header. Pic: PSG World

Sakho has been pivotal in defence for Palace, having helped secure wins against Chelsea and Arsenal this year. Palace will have to move fast in the summer to secure the Parisian, as his recent performances have attracted the interest of AS Roma among others. The transfer fee for Sakho could be in the range of  £30 million, which would make him one of Palace’s most expensive acquisitions.

The Palace manager Sam Allardyce has said: “It is a big decision he [Sakho] has to make. If we stay in the Premier League, we will try our best to sign him.”

The club also indicated they will try to sign Sakho, who plays for the France national team, when they nominated him for the player of the season award, despite playing only eight games.

A spokesperson from the club told Eastlondonlines: “Mamadou has been nominated along with Yohan Cabaye, Jason Puncheon, Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke.”

With Wilfried Zaha considering a move away from the club in the summer, Palace will be looking to bolster their attack by adding a pacey winger to their squad.

Palace is also looking to add to their strikers to partner or back up Benteke. To do so, the club is reportedly targeting Benjamin Moukandjo of Lorient FC. The Cameroon international has scored 13 goals in 25 appearances for the French side in the current campaign.

Moukandjo – who is known for his versatility, playing on the wing, down the middle and also poses a threat in the air – would be an apt back-up for Benteke. He is valued at around £5 million by Lorient FC.

The next player who has been linked with a transfer into the club is Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton. The England international has had heroic performances against the likes of Manchester United at Old Trafford this season, and has attracted attention around the country.

England player Tom Heaton, who Palace have in their sights        Pic: Kelvin Stuttart

If Heaton did finalise a move to Crystal Palace, he would challenge or replace Wayne Hennessey as the club’s first choice keeper. Heaton who has won the Premier League with Manchester United would be a great fit to the South London club.

January signing, Luka Milivojevic, has proved to be bargain for the club. The defensive midfielder signed for Palace from Greek champions Olympiacos. His performances in midfield have enabled Allardyce to play his style of football and soak pressure from the opposition.

With the current season being their fourth in the Premier League since promotion from the Championship, Palace would have looked to be closer to the mid-table position, considering the recent investment the club has received.

Palace finished in the tenth position under previous manager Alan Pardew in the 2015-2016 season. Pardew was sacked in December 2016 when he managed to win only six of his 36 matches in the calendar year. Palace was in the 17th position with one win in their last 11 games at the time Pardew was sacked.

Their form in 2017 has improved under Allardyce, which has put them on the brink of safety. Their match against Hull will be crucial and a win will see them attain the 40-point mark and secure their place in the Premier League for next season.

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