Date: 14th June 2018 at 9:33am
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Crystal Palace are being tentatively linked with Nigerian international midfielder Joel Obi.

With the return of Ruben Loftus-Cheek to Chelsea following the expiry of his loan spell, the release of Chung-yong Lee and doubts over the future of Yohan Cabaye with fans and the club waiting on confirmation as to whether or not he will sign the deal we’ve offered him, the report by Football.London yesterday evening certainly isn’t outrageous when it comes to the claim that it’s believed Palace are ‘exploring’ midfield options.

That makes sense and our scouts and recruitment department would be ‘exploring’ potential options regardless.

But direct speculation suggesting Obi (could be the) Wan for Roy Hodgson this summer feels off the mark.

The original report seems to stem from Tutto Mercato Web and I’ve seen more substance in wholly insignificant things as it’s an unqualified claim at best, with nothing to suggest it wasn’t thought of and written in the staff dining room.

The 27-year-old is also linked to Porto and Benfica by the outlet and there’s not even a suggestion of a fee.

With the transfer dealings you would expect Hodgson to want to make this summer, I don’t see Obi as being a practical solution unless we’re going to push close to the financial line or there’s a sensible release fee I’m not aware of. A bad World Cup could take him off our radar if we are looking at him, whereas a good World Cup just inflates any potential fee – and certainly wage – further.

The future of Christian Benteke lends itself to Hodgson’s transfer kitty as well and on that front the Mirror are suggesting that former Sunderland and Welsh manager Chris Coleman could give the Belgian an escape route.

Coleman has taken the job as Hebei China Fortune boss and Benteke has received interest from Chinese Super League sides previously – last summer for example from Beijing Guoan. Despite changes to the Chinese game in recent times when it comes to finances, Benteke’s misfiring few years at Liverpool and last season for Palace does mean that China is a realistic option for him to rebuild himself and grow his stock again.

Even with the new restrictions, it could also be the best chance for us to get near to breaking even on the £27million we paid for him.

The Benteke suggestion certainly seems more plausible out of the two to me if Hodgson doesn’t believe he can get him back to his potent best.

 

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