Parish and Freedman open Crystal Palace talks to sign attacking full-back

Right-back Joel Ward has been an excellent servant to Crystal Palace, amassing 351 appearances for the club since his arrival from Portsmouth in 2012. Only Wilfried Zaha (458) and Julian Speroni (405) have played more matches for the Eagles, and Ward remains a key part of Roy Hodgson’s side, starting 16 out of 17 Premier League matches this year before he suffered an injury.

However, the 34-year-old veteran is out of contract at the end of the current season, and the same can be said for his fellow full-back Nathaniel Clyne, who’s now in his second spell at Selhurst Park after rejoining from Liverpool in 2020. Clyne has played 12 games this season and started the last five in the league in the absence of Ward, but Palace have a decision to make.

Will they offer contract renewals to one or both of the players, or will they let them go? If they go down the latter route, they will of course have to find a replacement, and those efforts may already be underway.

According to The Daily Mail, Crystal Palace have opened talks to sign Daniel Munoz at Genk. Chairman Steve Parish and Sporting Director Dougie Freedman have “asked” the question regarding the defender’s availability as Hodgson looks to strengthen at the back this month.


Palace are “unlikely to be deterred” by a valuation of £10m, and Genk aren’t in an especially strong negotiating position because Munoz’s contract expires this summer, albeit with an option to extend for a further 12 months.

Prolific Munoz looks like a bargain

Munoz, 27, joined Genk from Colombian side Atletico Nacional in 2020 and has played 147 games for the Belgian club, scoring 19 times and setting up 20 more. This season, he’s found the net on seven occasions and added a couple of assists in his 28 outings.

Those numbers are impressive in isolation but they look even better when compared to his peers. No other defender in the Pro League has scored more than three this season (Munoz has five), and better still, only two defenders based in Europe’s top 10 leagues – Bayer Leverkusen’s Alejandro Grimaldo (nine) and Lokomotiv Moscow’s Nair Tiknizyan (eight) – have scored more goals in all competitions in 2023/24. Encouragingly, Munoz also got eight last term, which suggests this is no flash in the pan.






Alejandro Grimaldo

Bayer Leverkusen



Nair Tiknizyan

Lokomotiv Moscow



Daniel Munoz




Jeremie Frimpong

Bayer Leverkusen



Maksim Osipenko



There’s more to his threat than popping up with goals too. He ranked sixth in the league last season for both passes into the final third (189) and progressive passes (238), which highlights his ability to supply the team’s danger men. Even with an extremely high attacking output, Munoz doesn’t neglect his defensive duties – he ranked 10th in the league for tackles won in 22/23 (46) and also finished runner-up in the blocks leaderboard with 60.

£10m looks like great value for a player with that kind of skillset, and as Munoz nears the end of his deal, it’s a sale that could make sense for all parties.

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