Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace

Premier League • England

Sources: Crystal Palace identify perfect next striker in devastating Championship star who wants London return

Norwich star Gabriel Sara and Middlesbrough striker Chuba Akpom

TEAMtalk understands Crystal Palace are ready to launch a move for Middlesbrough hitman Chuba Akpom following his incredible season in the Championship.

Akpom returned to Boro last summer following a season on loan at Greek club PAOK Thessaloniki. And he has enjoyed the campaign of his life, having netted 28 goals in 36 Championship appearances to make himself the division’s top scorer.

The striker’s form has been crucial to the brilliant work Michael Carrick has done at Boro. Carrick’s side sit in fourth place and have already booked their spot in the play-offs as they look to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2016-17.

However, it remains to be seen if Akpom will still be playing at the Riverside Stadium next season. TEAMtalk has been told Palace are drawing up plans to bid for the former England U21 international in the summer.

The Eagles will need to add to their forward options if Wilfried Zaha leaves at the end of the season. While they are still hopeful of keeping Zaha, he is picking up interest from some major teams including Arsenal and Chelsea.

Jordan Ayew has thrived at centre-forward under Roy Hodgson recently, combining excellently with the likes of Zaha, Michael Olise and Ebere Eze. But as he is now 31 years old, a long-term successor needs to be found. And with Odsonne Edouard and Jean-Philippe Mateta not up to scratch, Palace have decided on Akpom as Ayew’s potential replacement.

The South London side believe there is a good chance Akpom will leave Boro this summer as his contract expires in June 2024 and an extension is yet to be discussed.

Boro ace keen on London switch if Palace come calling

And in another boost for Palace, TEAMtalk understands Akpom would relish the chance to move back to London. He was born in the capital and came through Arsenal’s academy before leaving on a permanent basis in August 2018.

Even if Boro gain promotion via the play-offs, Akpom would still be keen on a return to London. Palace will bid for him regardless of how Boro’s season ends, although they will have to put more money on the table if Akpom fires Carrick’s team back into the top flight.

Meanwhile, Fabrizio Romano has confirmed Arsenal are keeping tabs on one of Palace’s best players.