The 2023/24 Premier League season has been a relatively indifferent one for Crystal Palace so far. Despite sitting in 14th place, relegation looks rather unlikely, given the quality of the teams below them.
Still, in spite of some impressive results here and there, such as the draw with Manchester City and the win away to Manchester United, the Eagles do not look like they’ll challenge those above them either.
Roy Hodgson has got his team to a place of temporary safety in the league, but if he wants to take them to the next level, the club will have to dip into the transfer market this month, which is precisely what they look primed to do.
The latest player touted for a move to Selhurst Park is a loan signing who, if all goes well, could have a similar impact on the side that Conor Gallagher had when he joined on a temporary deal from Chelsea in 2021.
Palace look to repeat Gallagher coup
According to Sky Sports, Crystal Palace are among several top-flight teams ‘interested in Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips.’
The former Leeds United captain has been placed on the market by the treble-winners after Pep Guardiola admitted last month: “I visualise some things and visualise the team and things – and I struggle to see him.”
While the Cityzens’ desire to offload Phillips is undoubtedly good news for Palace, their preference to sell him rather than loan him is not, although Sky Sports does explain that if a loan move ends up as the most suitable option, then they won’t stop it so long as a fee of around £5m is paid.
Ultimately, beating clubs such as Newcastle United, Everton and Juventus to the Englishman’s signature will be challenging, but the impact he could have on the midfield would surely be worth it.
Kalvin Phillips could have a similar impact to Conor Gallagher
Now, the first thing to note is that while both players are midfielders – and brilliant ones at that – they are there to do very different things. For example, Gallagher is a central midfielder who, during his time with the Eagles, was played in both a central role and an attacking role slightly further up the pitch, scoring eight times in the process.
In contrast, Phillips is very much a defensively-minded midfielder, and during his last season at Leeds – which is also the last season in which he played with any kind of regularity – he was deployed primarily as a six, even starting two games as a centre-back.
During his stint in south London, the Chelsea man was an incredibly dynamic force and while he was useful for a number of things, it was his goalscoring that understandably grabbed the headlines.
However, this just isn’t what Hodgson will get with the City “monster” as described by former Palace winger Yannick Bolasie, and his underlying numbers from his last season of regular football at Elland Road show this.
Kalvin Phillips Standout Stats per 90
Errors leading to goals
All Stats via FBref for the 2021/22 Premier League Season
Described as “the best modern midfielder I have seen” by legendary Italian manager Fabio Capello, Phillips’ defensive metrics from his time at Leeds are genuinely impressive. He averaged 10.2 ball recoveries per 90 alongside making 3.05 tackles, 2.09 blocks, 1.36 interceptions and 1.02 clearances per 90, all while never making a single error that led to a goal.
That is the sort of defensive midfielder that could help turn Palace’s midfield from one destined for lower mid-table mediocrity to one that could push up the league, similar to what Gallager did for the club’s attacking output two years ago.
Crystal Palace open talks to sign free-scoring full-back
Palace’s latest target has been producing standout numbers this season.
Ultimately, the chance to sign a player of Phillips’ quality does not come around that often, and therefore, Palace should be doing all they can to get this deal over the line.