Thursday, October 29, 2020

Crystal Palace look to Bundesliga for £10m Wilfried Zaha replacement

According to British tabloids, Crystal Palace are set to look to Germany to sign a potential replacement for Wilfried Zaha, should he leave during the summer window.

Their target is said to be Eintracht Frankfurt winger Filip Kostic – who will reportedly be available for just £10m.

So, who is Filip Kostic?

Kostic is a player who has previously attracted interest from Liverpool – he was said to have been at the top of Jurgen Klopp’s wish list back in 2017. Now though, it looks like he could be set for a much more low profile summer move.

For those of you who don’t watch much German football, Kostic is a 27-year-old Serbian winger currently playing his trade at Eintracht Frankfurt who sit tenth in the German top division.

After spending some time playing in his native home of Serbia, Kostic moved to Dutch team Groningen in 2012, and really caught the eye. As a result of that, he attracted a lot of interest. VfB Stuttgart would win the race for his signature and paid £6m to bring him to Germany in 2014.

Kostic to Crystal Palace

After spending two years there, he moved to Hamburg in 2016 for a then club-record fee of £14m. Things didn’t quite work out the way he might have hoped and in summer 2018, he was sent on loan to Frankfurt for the season. They then made the move permanent in summer of 2019.

This term, Kostic has been a big part of the Frankfurt team. He has 12 goals and 12 assists in 35 appearances across all competitions – making him one of the stars of the Frankfurt team.

Playing Style

Kostic isn’t exactly the biggest guy you’ve ever seen, nor is he the fastest, but what he does provide is bags of technical ability, as well as a flair for the defensive side of the game.

He is primarily a left-winger, but has been known to play as a wing-back in the past. As a result of this, he doesn’t shy away from his defensive responsibilities and plays a big role at both ends of the field for Frankfurt.

He loves a good cross into the box, so if Christian Benteke is still at the club next season, Kostic could very well be the catalyst that sees the Belgian firing in goals in the Premier League once more.

Kostic also loves an effort from distance too, but has a tendency to hit one or two more than he probably should, although you wouldn’t bet against him in that situation. He likes to play long balls across the field too, but sometimes struggles with accuracy in his passing.

One thing that will go down well with the Selhurst Park faithful is his love for a tackle – he’s more than willing to stick a foot in when and if he needs to. Perhaps his most frustrating trait though is that when he isn’t on form, he has a tendency to just go missing from games – which can be intensely frustrating for his fans.

Is it a feasible move for Crystal Palace?

Feasible? Yes. Likely? No, not at £10m anyway. The report, which initially came from a newspaper that I refuse to name, says that Palace will be able to get Kostic for as little as £10m this summer, which is very unlikely.

Kostic is one of the stars of the Frankfurt side and has bags of ability – to let him go for as little as that would be simply foolish on the part of the German side, and I don’t for one second see that happening.

TransferMarkt, who are normally pretty good with their valuations of European players, have Kostic valued at £34.2m on their site. Personally, I think that’s a lot closer to the fee Crystal Palace can expect to pay if they want to bring Kostic to the Premier League this summer.

He’s recently signed a permanent contract that will keep him at Frankfurt until 2023 as well, which will most definitely alter his valuation. I’m not entirely sure where the newspaper who must not be named have gotten this valuation, but it feels as though they’ve plucked it out of thin air…

As for Crystal Palace, this move would rely on them shifting Wilfried Zaha this summer – which doesn’t seem overly likely. Now at aged 27 himself, Zaha hasn’t had his most prolific season this year, scoring just three times in the league. As a result, I’m not sure he’ll fetch quite the same fee he would have done if they’d sold him last summer.

For reference, TransferMarkt’s valuation of him is currently just under £50m – which seems about right to me. Something tells me that Crystal Palace might just demand something substantially higher than that though, which is understandable given he’s their star player.

If Crystal Palace do sell Zaha this summer, Filip Kostic is a more than capable replacement. He’d do a very decent job on the left wing, but I feel it’s probably important to note that he’d likely fetch a lot more than the £10m quoted in the tabloids this morning.

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