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Crystal Palace are enduring their worst start ever in the Premier League, having lost their opening 7 games without scoring a goal. They sacked manager Frank de Boer and replaced him with former England manager Roy Hodgson, but the results have not changed.
Under Hodgson, Palace have shipped in 10 goals in just three league games. Instead of trying to get a high-profile defender, Palace are reportedly trying to bring in non-league defender Lex Allan, but face competition from Fulham and Birmingham City.
Allan, 18, has only made 6 league appearances for Sittingbourne since joining from park football over the summer. The 6ft 7in centre-half, currently in his first season in senior football, has earned loads of plaudits for his all-round defending. The youngster has been extensively scouted by Fulham and Palace, who are keeping a regular update of his progress.
Being a towering figure, Allan is a hard-tackling, no nonsense defender. In his first 6 league appearances, he has impressed for the Brickies who sit on top of the Bostik South league, which is the 8th tier of the English footballing pyramid.
Currently training with Millwall, Allan has had scouts from Palace, Fulham and Birmingham City watching him since the start of the season. Allan has been given a breather from the Brickies first team with their manager Nick Davis in high praises for the defender.
“He’s got clubs left, right and centre looking at him,” Davis said. “He was at Millwall again last week, Palace have said they want him to train with them and Fulham have also enquired.
“He’s learning quickly and if he continues to do that, he’ll go on. He could go to a pro club, play in their under-23s and get better coaching than we can provide – and on a daily basis.
“Would that give him the best shot? Potentially.” Davis further added.
In the six league games played so far, Allan has caught the eyes of top-tier English clubs with a string of impressive displays. The lanky centre-back is one of the prime reasons why Sittingbourne are currently on top in the Bostik League South Division.
18-year-old Allan’s remarkable rise from obscurity has already alerted the big clubs, with Palace being the front-runners. At such a tender age, the centre-back may struggle to play in the Premier League, but he has shown some commendable potential to attract the big clubs.
However, there is every reason for Allan to understand his Sittingbourne boss Davis, who said,
“Playing regularly is important as well for your own development and your own experience. It’s a difficult one to advice at this stage.”
This might leave the giant centre-back in some dilemma at this early stage of his career but it’s certain that he will leave no stone unturned to sign for a bigger club in the future. Allan must analyse things rationally before making a move. Sittingbourne, meanwhile, will be hoping to receive a stunning six-figure fee for Allan.
Is he worth the gamble for Palace? Is another Chris Smalling tale unfolding? Watch this space!