Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace

Premier League • England

Crystal Palace ‘closing in’ on Premier League free agent as ‘final details’ of bargain deal are discussed

Ben Stewart
Chris Wood of Nottingham Forest battles with Jefferson Lerma of Bournemouth during the Premier League match between Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth on Saturday 21st January 2023

Crystal Palace are closing in on a deal for a Premier League free agent who will give them an extra dynamic heading into next season.

Roy Hodgson has been able to guide Palace away from any relegation troubles. With their Premier League status confirmed for next season, they will have one eye on the transfer window already.

Given they look likely to lose Wilfried Zaha on a free transfer, they will be keen to bolster the rest of their squad.

Fabrizio Romano has clarified that a deal for Bournemouth midfielder Jefferson Lerma is close. The 28-year-old is out of contract in the summer and is expected to depart.

“Crystal Palace are closing in on deal to sign Jefferson Lerma as free agent from Bournemouth,” Romano clarified on Twitter.

“Final details are being discussed in order to get it done soon. In any case, Lerma will leave Bournemouth on free transfer this summer.”

Adding to their ranks in midfield makes sense. Albert Sambi Lokonga will be returning to Arsenal at the end of the season and is expected to join Burnley.

Lerma likes to get stuck in and wins an average of 1.4 tackles per game. Partnered alongside a combative midfielder like Cheick Doucoure, Crystal Palace will have the foundations of a solid midfield.

Bournemouth will miss Lerma

The Cherries have defied the odds this season to stay up. Plenty of fans and pundits alike had already written off their survival chances before a ball had been kicked.

Lerma has previously shown his class at this level though and it’s no surprise that he has been a standout player this year.

Thanks to his contribution this season, he was named as Bournemouth’s player of the year by supporters for 2022-23.

“Thank you to all the fans that have voted for me,” Lerma told the Daily Echo.

“But this is a trophy for all of us that are a part of the dressing room. I think that it was a very difficult season, when we had to find courage in order to stay in the Premier League.

“We have achieved that, and that belongs to everyone, despite who is chosen as player of the year.”

The 28-year-old has made 99 Premier League appearances for Bournemouth and will be sorely missed next year. He also played a crucial role in their promotion from the Championship last season.

Bournemouth will no doubt be active in the transfer market to try and replace the holding midfielder in the summer.

They do have Ben Pearson in their ranks who plays in the same position, although he spent the second half of the season on loan with Stoke.

A permanent move could also be on the cards for Pearson this summer, meaning that Bournemouth will have a few roles to fill.

READ MORE: Sources: Everton, Crystal Palace on alert for league’s best player as Middlesbrough ready Man City talks