Premier League club Crystal Palace are interested in making a move for Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong this summer, according to a report from the Daily Express.
The 26-year-old Scottish international is out of contract with the Scottish champions next summer and has reportedly been stalling on signing a new deal, which has put the Eagles on alert. And they are now intent on trying to get him to Selhurst Park in the ongoing transfer window.
Having joined the Hoops from Dundee United back in the summer of 2015, Armstrong has developed into a key cog in the midfield engine room for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
The Scotland international was one of the best performers for Celtic in the 2016/17 campaign as they went on to win a historic domestic treble. He finished the season with 17 goals and 7 assists in 47 appearances across all competitions.
The Bhoys went on to win their second successive domestic treble last term but Armstrong wasn’t as influential as he was the first time around, owing to injury issues. He managed just 5 goals and 6 assists in 41 games in the 2017/18 season.
Despite a drop in his performance level this past season, Armstrong’s value as a versatile and dependable central midfielder cannot be underestimated. The 26-year-old possesses a solid defensive nous which allows him to snuff out threats from the opposition, while he also has the passing range and the vision to start off attacks from deep midfield.
Good technique, ability to impact the game in both halves of the pitch and a keen eye for a goal, the six-time capped Scottish international would be a valuable addition to the ranks at Palace.
The Eagles will be losing midfield mainstay Yohan Cabaye at the end of this month when his contract expires. And the rest of the midfield options in the squad, be it Scottish international James McArthur, or Luka Milivojevic or Jason Puncheon, don’t really offer the same qualities as Cabaye would.
And this is where Armstrong would come in handy for the Eagles. He has the passing range and the quality to fill in the shoes of Cabaye and he has proven to be effective in a box-to-box role with Celtic over the past couple of seasons.
At 26, his best years are still ahead of him and by signing him, Palace will reap the rewards of having him at Selhurst Park during his peak.
And Palace have seen how previous imports from Celtic – Victor Wanyama and Virgil van Dijk – have gone on to establish themselves as Premier League stars.
Scottish football may not be at par with the Premier League but the fact that Armstrong has been a part of a super successful Celtic team could benefit the Eagles as his winning mentality could rub off on his teammates at Selhurst Park.
Armstrong seems ready to make the step up to the Premier League and Palace should take the plunge to sign him this summer.