When Crystal Palace started the 2021-22 season, it felt like there was a lack of depth in the forward department. Jean-Philippe Mateta, Christian Benteke, and especially Odsonne Edouard are all good players. So, too, is Wilfried Zaha. However, while having four players who could legitimately play upfront would be a good thing, there were some serious doubts over the ability of Mateta and Benteke to contribute.
The former had seen precious few chances in his spell in London so far, and Benteke is well-known for being a patchy player in terms of form. However, make-do was the message to Patrick Vieira, at least until January. With the Belgian living up to his inconsistent tag and Mateta only recently getting into form and regular game time, the arrival of a new striker seemed likely.
Benteke feels like a poor fit for this particular Palace side, and links with a move to Burnley feel like a good idea for all involved. If the big Belgian does move on, as is expected, then links with Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah feel a bit more realistic.
The 22-year-old is almost certain to move on from Arsenal having failed to make the grade under Mikel Arteta. The players career so far has not really got into gear, with a frustrating loan spell at Leeds United cut short early due to a lack of opportunity. Since, the player has been in and out of the Gunners team. Reports, then, suggest that Palace are keen to make a deal for the player and add another pacy option to their forward line.
The player is expected to be sold before the end of January, as his contract runs out in the summer of 2022. However, is he the right player for this Palace team?
Can Eddie Nketiah add more goals to Palace?
The main thing any striker signed this winter should be able to do is score. The other players, such as Mateta, Zaha, and Edouard, are all excellent all-around contributors who are useful both off and on the ball. However, with the exception of Edouard, none of these forwards have ever been a consistent double-digits goals per season type of player. Does Nketiah solve that particular problem?
Arguably not. The youngster has plenty of energy, and has shown that he can score goals at second tier level. However, his lack of goals for Arsenal means that it is unlikely that he will come to Palace and fill in the deficit needed for a pure finisher. The striker has always been quick and willing to work off the ball, but he lacks a proper killer touch in front of goal.
As such, it would be hard to see Nketiah as the outright solution to the Palace woes in the forward line. A lack of killer instinct if a problem for any forward, and Palace do not need another pacy non-finisher. At the right price, Nketiah might do a job, but he offers more of what Palace already have and not enough of what they lack.