After an up and down Premier League campaign, Crystal Palace will definitely be looking for a much better season, this time around. Alan Pardew has strengthened the first-team squad with the signings of Andros Townsend, Steven Mandanda and James Tomkins from Newcastle United, Marseille and West Ham United respectively but the Eagles are far from done in the market.
Crystal Palace are planning a raid on Brighton & Hove Albion for star midfielder Dale Stephens according to The Daily Star, with the Eagles are hoping to pinch the midfielder from under the noses of Premier League new boys Burnley. Sean Dyche’s side have already seen three bids rejected for the 27-year-old according to the aforementioned report and Palace are looking to pounce on the situation and make use of their monetary powers.
Stephens was an instrumental player in helping the Seagulls’ march to the Championships play-offs last season. A 3-1 aggregate loss to Sheffield Wednesday ended Brighton’s hopes of a first top-flight appearance since the 1982/83 season but the 27-year-old midfielder did just enough to alert sides from the Premier League.
Stephens formed a formidable partnership with Beram Kayal last season for the Seagulls and earned lots of plaudits over the year. His passing range and composure are his biggest strengths while he is also handy with goals and assists. The Englishman had a passing accuracy of 84.2% last season which was quite impressive. Contributing seven goals and five assists from central midfield speaks highly about the 27-year-old’s end product.
Despite being just 5’7″, Stephens is quite decent when it comes to aerial abilities. He won 1.2 aerial balls every game last season which is quite impressive compared to his small stature. Stephens is quite a complete midfielder which is well-reflected from his defensive figures last season. The Englishman averaged 2.7 tackles, 2.2 interceptions, 1.3 clearances and 0.4 blocks every game last term.
Apart from Yohan Cabaye, each and every Crystal Palace midfielder is quite one-dimensional. Jedinak is an out and out defensive midfielder while Joe Ledley had an utterly average last season. James McArthur, on the other hand, had an injury-ravaged season. Palace would certainly benefit from adding a creative, dynamic and hard-working midfielder like the Brighton star to their ranks.