Crystal Palace interest surfaces in West Ham winger target who’s now attracting major Serie A, Ligue 1 clubs for summer

Al-Ittihad winger Jota

Crystal Palace held an interest in signing Jota from Al-Ittihad in the January transfer window while West Ham were working on a deal, TEAMtalk can reveal.

And Jota will be one to watch ahead of the summer transfer window after ultimately staying put in Saudi Arabia despite his lack of action since he left Celtic in July.

Saudi Pro League regulations backfired for Jota after his eye-catching move, since he was left out of Al-Ittihad’s squad for games of their title defence.

There was speculation about him leaving in January, when West Ham went as far as securing a verbal agreement from the Portugal international to join them after talks with his agent Jorge Mendes.

In the end, Jota could not complete a winter departure from Al-Ittihad, but he wasn’t without potential options.

Sources have now told TEAMtalk that Crystal Palace were interested in the 24-year-old during the January transfer window.

Palace’s only senior signings this winter were Daniel Munoz from Genk and Adam Wharton from Blackburn Rovers, who both arrived late in the window.

The Eagles were also keen on Jota, who will be the subject of attention once again in the summer, especially if his situation at Al-Ittihad does not improve.

Jota attracts interest in Europe

Other than the opportunity to come to the Premier League, potentially with Palace or the Hammers, TEAMtalk can reveal that Jota is attracting major interest from clubs in France’s Ligue 1 and Italy’s Serie A, as Mendes works on facilitating a move.

For example, Lazio are looking at Jota after going for Ryan Kent in the January transfer window, until their pursuit of the ex-Rangers star from Fenerbahce fell through.

Any of those leagues would be new experiences for Jota, whose previous ventures have been in Portugal with Benfica, Spain with Real Valladolid, Scotland with Celtic and now Saudi Arabia with Al-Ittihad.

It is not even ruled out that Jota could spend another season in the Saudi Pro League before leaving in 2025 to avoid massive tax issues, akin to those Jordan Henderson ran into when leaving Al-Ettifaq for Ajax, that can impact athletes leaving the Middle Eastern country within two years.

When eligible to play for his current club, Jota has scored two goals from 11 appearances.

He played five times in the league before becoming ineligible, while he has added four AFC Champions League appearances and two Club World Cup outings.

Jota will have turned 25 by the time he can change clubs again, so is at no age to be a bit-part player, let alone someone left out of his club’s squad entirely.

Therefore, he and his representatives will have to keep an eye on their options ahead of the next transfer window.

West Ham may still have a void to fill in their attack after allowing Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma to leave for Real Betis and Lyon respectively on deadline day.

Meanwhile across London, Palace will be bracing themselves for interest in Michael Olise after his failed move to Chelsea last summer.

Comfortable using either foot, Jota can play on both wings, which only adds to his appeal as clubs construct their squads.

Last season for Celtic, he tended to start more games on the left (just), but actually scored more goals from the right.

He finished his farewell campaign in Celtic colours with 15 goals and 12 assists from 43 appearances, but he has sadly been unable to build up momentum since.

Jota remains under contract with Al-Ittihad until 2026, but it seems to be in everyone’s best interests for them to separate when an opportunity arises.

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