Football

Arsenal should sign Palace's underrated star in the summer

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Many pundits tipped Crystal Palace to go straight back down to the Championship at the start of the season because they had not seen much of the Eagles during their play-off winning season. 

They saw that Wilfried Zaha was going to leave the south London outfit in the summer and automatically thought Crystal Palace would struggle for form in the top-flight of English football. 

However Crystal Palace have a number of stars who have impressed fans of the Premier League throughout the current campaign.

The likes of Julian Speroni, Mile Jedinak and Yannick Bolasie - who formed the spine of Ian Holloway's side - are just some of the players who have shone for Palace this season. 

However the player who seems to have gone unnoticed - outside the walls of Selhurst Park - is Eagles right-back Joel Ward. 

The 24-year-old, who joined Crystal Palace from Portsmouth for a mere £400,000 at the start of last season, has adapted to life in the Premier League with relative ease.

Ward has even had to be deployed in Crystal Palace's engine room during the last couple of weeks due to Tony Pulis' side's temporary midfield injury crisis - and he has not looked out of his depth against the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham and Aston Villa while playing out of position.

He performed brilliantly against Manchester United on Saturday against the talented Adnan Januzaj - with the Belgium attacking midfielder deciding to drift inside after Ward continued to get the better of him.

Crystal Palace fans will tell you Ward deserves a spot in the England team ahead of the likes of Tottenham's Kyle Walker - but I highly doubt Roy Hodgson will throw the defender straight into the deep end by naming him in his World Cup squad. 

Ward may also have to move to a 'big team' in order to represent the England national team and he may just get a chance to impress for a top four side if Arsenal come in for the defender. 

The Gunners will be stepping up their search for a right-back in the next few months as they have so far failed to convince Bacary Sagna into signing a new deal to stay at the Emirates Stadium. 

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is not usually one to fork out large sums on players, with the Mesut Ozil deal being one of a few exceptions, as he usually prefers to unearth a player who is either playing abroad or is not in the limelight. 

Crystal Palace would probably accept an offer in the region of £5-10million for Ward so he definitely fits the bill. 

Eagles fans would be unhappy at seeing one of their best players leave the club but would also surely wish Ward well if he did move to a side of Arsenal's size, as he is a fans' favourite in SE25. 

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Topics:
Joel Ward
Premier League
Crystal Palace
Arsenal
Football

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