A key Crystal Palace cog has ‘opened talks’ with an unnamed Champions League club ahead of his impending summer exit, claims a report.
Roy Hodgson is quietly guiding Crystal Palace to another drama-free campaign in the Premier League.
Three wins from their last five has nudged them ever closer to safety. The backbone of the ex-England boss’ squad has been his plethora of experienced players.
30-plus veterans such as Gary Cahill, Cheikhou Kouyaté and Patrick Van Aanholt have all ensured the Eagles’ season has never had any major low points.
The average age of their squad is the oldest in the division, however, meaning changes will soon be an inevitability.
Several contracts are coming into view, with Dutch full-back Van Aanholt one player who is set to become a free agent in the summer.
The 30-year-old has been a standout performer for Crystal Palace since his £14m arrival from Sunderland in 2017. Prior reports in January suggested the club were considering a permanent departure in the winter window to avoid losing him for free.
Arsenal were one such club linked with a swoop, but a deal ultimately did not materialise.
Negotiations over a new contract have as yet not materialised, however, and a recent report has revealed his exit is on the cards.
Online outlet Football Insider report that Van Aanholt has ‘opened talks with an unnamed Champions League club.’
With the full-backs contract expiring in less than six months, he is free to talk with overseas sides regarding the signing of a pre-contract agreement.
Though the identity of the European club remains unknown, the report adds that it is a team in this season’s iteration of the competition.
Hodgson revels in victory over rivals
Meanwhile, Hodgson was full of praise for Crystal Palace’s defensive effort as they struck late on to sink Brighton at the Amex on Monday night.
Substitute Christian Benteke thumped home a dramatic late volley as Palace snatched a 2-1 victory at bitter rivals Brighton.
The Belgium striker lashed in Andros Townsend’s cross in the fifth minute of added time to return Palace to winning ways following successive defeats which had led to growing supporter unrest.
Brighton dominated proceedings at the Amex Stadium and levelled through Joel Veltman after the Eagles led at half-time courtesy of a superb, back-heeled finished from French forward Jean-Philippe Mateta.
Palace showed little ambition for much of the match and once again struggled to create in the absence of injured talisman Wilfried Zaha, with the two superb goals their only attempts on target.
Yet Eagles manager Hodgson was more than satisfied with a result which moves his side 10 points above the relegation zone.
He told BBC Sport after the game: “It’s always great to score in the last minute, especially when we had to soak up a lot of pressure.