Crystal Palace weren’t exactly inactive in the summer transfer window as Roy Hodgson and Steve Parish brought in Eberechi Eze from Queens Park Rangers, who along with Nathan Ferguson, can inject some youth and vigour into an ageing squad.

But, in spite of the new additions, perhaps the Palace chairman missed the chance to sign a player who could have been the icing on the cake.

What was the story?

According to a report from The Daily Mail, Palace were heavily linked with Burnley winger Dwight McNeil in the summer amid uncertainty surrounding Wilfried Zaha’s future at Selhurst Park.

It’s claimed that the winger was a wanted man as Palace faced stiff competition from Everton and Manchester United to secure his services.

In the end, a move failed to materialise, as the Eagles ended up signing Eze from QPR instead. However, Parish could kill two birds with one stone by renewing his efforts to sign McNeil when the winter transfer market opens in just under a month’s time.

Shrewd signing?

The 21-year-old has been on the books at Burnley for a fair amount of time since his move from the Manchester United academy and has received rave reviews for his performances in recent years, with some even tipping him for the very top.

McNeil has impressed for Sean Dyche’s side since he first burst on to the scene in 2018, and he’s provided one assist in nine games in the Premier League so far this season.

In 78 appearances for the Clarets, the England U21 international has scored five times and supplied 12 assists in all competitions, including a goal during the 4-2 defeat to Premier League giants Chelsea last term.

Whether or not Palace will make a new approach remains to be seen but this is a potential move that could work for all parties.

Not that they’d like to admit it, but the Eagles are going to need to find a replacement for Zaha at some point, that much is almost guaranteed.

Whilst Palace aren’t short of options on the left, with Eze and Jeffrey Schlupp competing for a place in the starting line-up, the versatile forward can also be deployed on the right-wing, so he could provide cover and competition for Hodgson’s first-choice starter, Andros Townsend.

Valued at £22.5m via Transfermarkt, his ability to play on either wing would make him a valuable piece of the puzzle for the Palace boss, as he would be able to offer another creative option out wide, with Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp lauding his “lovely left foot.”

With McNeil having just turned 21, he still has plenty of time to improve as a player, and Palace may well have to start planning for a future without Zaha, amid links suggesting that he could move abroad.

A move for McNeil would give him the chance to team up with Eze, his international teammate, and could give the Eagles someone who could take the mantle over from Zaha in the not too distant future.

Just imagine the two of them bombing up and down the flanks, it almost doesn’t bear to think about. And of course, given his age, there’s also the potential resale value as well, which could be music to Parish’s ears.

AND in other news, Crystal Palace simply can’t afford to lose James McCarthy to Celtic

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Source: Football – Football Fan Cast