What’s the story?
Crystal Palace look to supplement on the quality in their ranks as they eye a swoop for the Barcelona duo of goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen and defender Thomas Vermaelen. According to reports from The Mirror, the Eagles’ new manager Frank De Boer is keen on adding more experience to his defensive third and see the Dutch and Belgian internationals as the ones who fit the bill.
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Both Vermaelen and Cillessen are believed to be in surplus to requirements at Nou Camp. Vermaelen has had impressive showings as an Arsenal player and even captained the side in the Premier League. De Boer, will be familiar with both the stars with the duo having their roots in Amsterdam.
Steve Mandanda who presently stands guard between the sticks for Crystal Palace is expected to be moving to France after a disappointing first season in England. Marseille are believed to be willing to offer the Congo-born French international a place in their squad.
The heart of the matter
Vermaelen has been short of opportunities ever since he made his move to the Catalonian giants. Even, in his loan spell at Roma, last season, Vermaelen failed to garner much time on the field. And at 31 years of age, the veteran looks to be entering the twilight of his career.
Vermaelen's agents have reportedly insinuated that he would like to return to the Premier League and to especially London. Vermaelen has two years left on his contract with Barcelona, however, that is believed to be much of a trouble to overcome. The Belgian who started strongly at Arsenal and gained a reputation as a goal scoring defender but soon went out of favour after spells of injury and inconsistent showings. His time at Barcelona meanwhile has also been marred by injuries.
Cillessen, on the other hand, at 28, finds himself playing second fiddle to the German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen at Barcelona. He appeared only once in the La Liga for the Nou Camp outfit with most of his showings coming in the Copa Del Rey.
The Dutch international who joined Barcelona for €13m has earned his reputation as an excellent provider with his ball distribution being one of his best attributes.
Vermaelen is fairly experienced in the Premier League having spent five years with the Gunners. Though his recent run of form is not quite impressive, a more run of games may yet see Vermaelen hit higher gears at Selhurst Park.
With Mandanda likely to leave England for France, Palace will definitely benefit if Cillessen does choose to join. The Dutchman is reliable and has his fair share of his experience in playing at the highest level.Published 10 Jul 2017, 12:14 IST