Crystal Palace fans have become accustomed to the club typically targeting younger as opposed to older players. This often means getting to watch young talent develop, which can be fun for fans. It also means often watching them walk out the door as they hit their peak years. After watching players take years to find their form and consistency, they often leave before they establish themselves. This summer has been more of the same; young potential who can contribute today, but will start tomorrow. One name that has arrived in the Palace rumour mill in recent days, though, breaks that mould.
The name in question is Sasa Lukic, who would become the fifth signing of the summer if he arrives. The midfielder has been put on the exit list at Torino after falling out with management and the front office. According to reports in Italy, the Serbian is raging that promises have been broken and thus he now wants to leave. Teams in Italy that are interested include AS Roma and Fiorentina. However, it is believed that Torino would rather sell abroad than see one of their best players stay in Serie A.
At a fee of around €20m, Lukic would not be cheap. Crucially, though, he would arrive ready to start playing in the first-team. As a player in his peak years who has been excellent for Torino, especially under firebrand tactician Ivan Juric, Palace fans would be getting a player who could immediately walk into the first XI.
Is Sasa Lukic the right fit for Palace?
To be blunt, yes. You need to be a good, tactically astute, physically fit player to even get near a Juric team. The Croatian coach is known for his effervescent personality but also his demanding nature as a coach. As someone who has become famed for building teams that scream forward on the attack and press like vice grips, Lukic would be more than suitable for the physicality and chaos of the Premier League.
The player, though, is refusing to train and this could be a problem for the club. Patrick Vieira and co. have been keen to build a side without any drama or ‘bad apples’ within the dressing room. Having a player who has actively downed tools could be a sign of a troublemaker. The reasons given, though, essentially boil down to the same reasons that Torino seen coach Juric and their Sporting Director nearly physically fighting in the car park last month: a lack of ambition in the transfer market.
Toro have also failed to live up to contractual agreements with the player. So, this might be less a case of a bad attitude and more a case of growing sick and tired of not getting what was once promised. Either way, Lukic would fit into the Palace way of playing and, given the success other Serbians have had at the club in recent years, sounds like a player worth taking a gamble on.