Why Crystal Palace should go all out to sign Wilfried Kanon in January
According to the Sun, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson is looking to bolster his defensive options in January and ADO Den Haag centre-back Wilfried Kanon is the latest addition to his list.
The Ivorian centre-back started his professional career in the Romanian top-flight with Gloria Bistrita and Corona Brasov, and made his move to the Dutch Eredivisie side ADO Den Haag in the 2013-14 season. Since then, he has made a total of 99 appearances in the Eredivisie, where he has found the net on two occasions.
Kanon, who has been capped 30 times by Ivory Coast, was also a transfer target for Everton under Sam Allardyce and a host of other La Liga clubs, but new Toffees manager Marco Silva decided to pursue his interest elsewhere (h/t The Sun).
It hasn’t been a great start to the season for Crystal Palace. Although the Eagles haven’t been outrightly poor, they have lacked the firepower in the attacking third. Roy Hodgson’s men are currently 14th in the Premier League standings with 7 points from their first 8 games.
The Eagles finished 11th in the Premier League last season but they have plenty of room for improvement this time around if they are to finish in the top ten. With five losses out of eight, things do not look all that bright for Crystal Palace.
However, despite their struggles so far, something that must draw our attention is their defensive record. The Eagles have one of the best defensive records among the mid-table teams, having conceded only 9 goals so far. Liverpool flop Mamadou Sakho has been quite solid at the back and the experienced James Tomkins has complemented him pretty well in the heart of the defence.
In Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Patrick van Aanholt, Palace have two high-quality offensive-minded full-backs who have done very well this season. Besides their diligent defensive duties, the full-backs have contributed a great deal to the build-up play in the other half with some lung-busting runs. At times, they have shown tremendous recovery pace to track back and close down the opposition too.
However, Martin Kelly, who was slotted in for James Tomkins in the game against Watford, looked very uncomfortable at the back. Furthermore, the Eagles face the risk of missing the services of the experienced Scott Dann for the entire season due to a long-term knee injury.
As things stand, Roy Hodgson might face a potential crisis at the back if one of the two regular centre-backs is sidelined due to an injury or a suspension. With the disciplinary record that Mamadou Sakho has throughout his career, a suspension is always on the cards.
Kanon has established himself as one of the big defensive names in the Eredivisie. A centre-back blessed with a lot of physical strength and aerial prowess, Kanon has the ability to outmuscle the opposition. He is adept at reading the trajectory of air balls and is a potent threat with his headers.
Standing at 6ft 2in, the Ivorian is not only capable of dominating the opposition with his strength and aerial ability but also has an exceptionally quick reaction time. An aggressive centre-back by nature, he uses his game-reading ability to make crucial interceptions. On the other hand, he is very composed in one-on-one situations and does not dive into reckless challenges.
To go with his strength, agility and reading of the game, Kanon also excels with his marking and situational awareness. He is at his best when given the job of marking the opposition’s No.9 in the final third.
To put things into perspective, Kanon should be the perfect option for Roy Hodgson to bolster his options at the back. He is contracted to his current club until 2022 and it would be difficult to sign ADO Den Haag’s prized asset but that should not stop the Eagles from making a handsome bid for the 25-year-old.