Crystal Palace Opinion: Should the Eagles sign Jules Koundé?
The arrival of a bonafide striker in the January window has proven to be a brilliant move by Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson. Michy Batshauyi’s sheer presence alone has turned things around, let alone the fact that the 25-year-old has already netted two goals.
The Belgian’s presence in the team has already seen Wilfried Zaha, Max Meyer and even Andros Townsend flourish. Batshuayi, however, has only arrived on loan for the next six months, with him returning to Chelsea at the end of the season.
That’s the time, if there was any, for the Eagles to spend and add reinforcements to key positions. Irrespective of where they finish this season, Palace will have to make sure they address a few problems.
The first one is their goalkeeping situation, then comes Christian Benteke’s struggles to find the back of the net and the centre-back issue. Jairo Riedewald has failed to make an impact and both Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins are 29 years old.
Furthermore, the fact that Scott Dann is 32 years old and is struggling to cope with the Premier League means that a younger addition is necessary.
One defender the club should consider is Ligue 1 starlet Jules Koundé, who, just a year after signing his first professional contract, has made quite an impact.
The 20-year-old’s youthful appearances hide just how good he really is and the young Frenchman has become a constant fixture in Bordeaux’s starting eleven.
A centre-back by trade, Koundé fought his way up from Bordeaux’s youth teams before being handed his senior debut last season. Since then, the 20-year-old has made 61 appearances in all competitions, including 42 this season.
Koundé even made his European debut in the Europa League, playing in all ten of Bordeaux’s games. While all that is well and good, what makes him close to perfect for Crystal Palace is the fact that Jules Koundé is a ball-playing centre-back.
His passing is incredible and Koundé has it in his locker to pick out a teammate 30 yards away with absolute ease. Similar to Toby Alderweireld, the 20-year-old is a bit small for a centre-back at 5’10” but that has never stopped him.
He makes up for it with his tenaciousness. While his tackling and tactical nuance will improve with age, Koundé still averages 1 tackle, 1.5 interceptions and 5.2 clearances per game.
The statistics show just how good he can become and how important it is for Crystal Palace to make a move. (Whoscored)
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Given the state of their back-line, Crystal Palace need a good and reliable centre-half, which is exactly what Jules Koundé is. Moreover, at the age of 20, Kounde has a long and very bright future ahead of him, and under the right conditions, he will only improve further.
Roy Hodgson, if nothing else, is a very experienced manager and is good in handling young starlets, as witnessed by Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s rise. The former England manager can help take Jules Koundé to the next level and the Frenchman’s work ethic and aggression makes him a perfect fit for the Premier League.