Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace

Premier League • England

Crystal Palace lead Newcastle in race for Arsenal striker as transfer talks begin

James Holland
Eddie Nketiah, Alexandre Lacazette Arsenal substitution

Crystal Palace are hoping to beat Newcastle and Brighton to the signing of an Arsenal striker after reportedly entering discussions with the Gunners.

Eagles manager Patrick Vieira currently has Christian Benteke, Odsonne Edouard, Jordan Ayew and Jean-Philippe Mateta as strikers in his squad. Ivory Coast international Wilfried Zaha can also operate up front.

Edouard moved to Selhurst Park in August, despite being a target for Arsenal. Crystal Palace paid £14million to sign the Frenchman from Celtic.

But Palace could add another player to their forward ranks due to two key reasons. Benteke and Ayew are reaching the twilight years of their careers, suggesting new stars need to be brought in.

Mateta, meanwhile, could see his loan move from Mainz cut short this month. Ligue 1 outfit Saint-Etienne are hoping to land him, according to their manager Pascal Dupraz.

With these factors in mind, Palace have begun talks with Arsenal over the signing of English striker Eddie Nketiah, according to The Times.

The 22-year-old is a target for Newcastle, Brighton and Bayer Leverkusen. But Palace have stolen a march on the other potential suitors by entering discussions.

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Nketiah is in the final six months of his Gunners contract, meaning this is Arsenal’s final window to sell for a fee.

The situation could allow Palace to complete a cut-price deal for the former England U21 international.

Mikel Arteta apparently wants to keep Nketiah in north London, although he has little chance of becoming a first-team regular there.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Folarin Balogun all provide competition for places. Even if Aubameyang or Lacazette leave this year, a new striker could be taken to the Emirates – such as Alexander Isak.

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Meanwhile, TEAMtalk understands Vieira’s side have rejected a host of loan offers for highly-rated youngster Jack Wells-Morrison.

The 17-year-old midfielder is one of the stars of Palace’s academy, with many at Selhurst Park expecting big things. He made it onto the bench for the recent FA Cup win over Millwall.

His form for their Under-23s has not gone unnoticed. As such, we understand a number of Championship and League One clubs have approached Palace about a move this month.

Indeed, we can report that neighbouring Charlton Athletic are among those keen on Wells-Morrison.

However, it is our understanding that Vieira has no intention of letting him go. That’s with the forward-thinking Eagles boss promoting Wells-Morrison into the first-team squad.

READ MORE: Newcastle join four-way Prem trail for in-form striker who has options in two other leagues – Exclusive