Each period of time after a transfer window shuts brings with it various challenges for any team. Needs that were not met during the transfer window become priorities for the next window to arrive. However, for Crystal Palace, the last two transfer windows have brought some interesting players into the fold. Having spent a fair sum on signing a younger side than the age-heavy team of the Roy Hodgson era, there is now a more laser-targeted focus on more experienced players.
The likes of Marc Guehi and Odsonne Edouard offered young players who could already make an impact on the first-team. Now, Palace look keen to try and bring in a few new players who could take the team up to the next level. One name being linked is Dani Ceballos. The Spain international has found playing time limited at best since returning to Real Madrid from Arsenal. Though his time in North London was hit with inconsistent form and injury, there is no doubting the technical quality that Ceballos brings to the table.
And with it being nigh-impossible that Connor Gallagher returns for a second season at Palace, it might be time to look for a replacement. The energy that the Englishman has brought to the midfield will be hard to replace. Ceballos, though, would offer an excellent level of technical improvement to a midfield that can sometimes feel more workmanlike than some would prefer.
While the likes of Michael Olise are adding more craft to the midfield, Ceballos would be key to helping dictate the game from deep. Palace have had some issues controlling games when the momentum swings to the favour of the opposition, and Ceballos would help to alleviate some of those issues.
Palace facing competition for Ceballos
However, while reports in Spain suggest that a deal could take place, there is ample competition. The main competitor is believed to be Real Betis. Under the leadership of Manuel Pellegrini, the Seville outfit have enjoyed a tremendous season and look odds-on to reach the Copa del Rey Final, do well in Europe, and finish in the UEFA Champions League spots.
That being said, there is also an emotional pull for Ceballos. Having grown up a Betis fan and having played in the first-team of the club before going to Madrid, returning ‘home’ could have a bigger appeal than some would realise. The chance to sign a player like Ceballos, especially on favourable terms given his position at Madrid, would be one that would be hard to reject for Betis.
Palace, though, are believed to be the priority choice if Ceballos comes back to England. Given his quality as a player and his standing within the game, picking him up would be quite the coup for Palace. With some strong competition, though, it will be interesting to see just how much can be done to convince the Spaniard to come back to England.
At the moment, though, it is well-known that Ceballos sits high on the list of players that Patrick Vieira would like for next season.