Premier League transfer news: Crystal Palace linked with Napoli's "excellent defender"

Napoli defender and potential Crystal Palace target Nikola Maksimovic playing against Milan

Crystal Palace could be interested in making a move for Napoli defender Nikola Maksimovic this summer, according to AreaNapoli.

What is the latest transfer news involving Maksimovic?

Maksimovic has been attracting interest from across Europe, with Real Betis and Sevilla reportedly keen on the centre-back. However, it is understood that the former cannot afford Maksimovic, whilst Sevilla are set to focus their attention on strengthening other areas of their squad.

This has left the door open for other clubs, with West Ham and Palace said to be two teams who could try to sign the 29-year-old.

How much is he worth and when does his contract expire?

Maksimovic is valued at £10.8m by Transfermarkt, but he is out of contract in June, meaning that he will become a free agent at this point. Therefore, Palace would not have to pay a penny to secure his services.

With regards to his wage demands, it is reported that Maksimovic would be seeking €2.5-2.8m (£2.2-2.4m) per year.

What are Maksimovic’s stats this season?

The Serbian defender has made 17 league appearances for Napoli this year, as the side aim to secure a place in the top four in Serie A.

His use of the ball in these games has been particularly impressive. As per WhoScored, Maksimovic’s pass success rate is up at 92.2% this term – putting him clear of Palace’s best performer in this category, Mamadou Sakho (88%).

He has also managed 1.2 interceptions per game for Gennaro Gattuso’s men, which would see him placed inside the top five for the Eagles.

What has been said about Maksimovic?

Maksimovic previously worked under Carlo Ancelotti when the veteran coach was in charge of Napoli. Back in 2018, Ancelotti was full of praise for the centre-back, and outlined how he offers versatility with his positioning.

As quoted by TuttoNapoli, Ancelotti said of Maksimovic: “He has no problems. I am satisfied, he is an excellent defender, complete elastic, fast, he can play both centre-right and centre-left, perhaps he fits better on the centre-right for habits and characteristics.”

A chance for Parish and Freedman to make a statement of intent?

With Palace having 11 players out of contract this summer, it looks set to be an intriguing transfer window for the club, as fans eagerly wait to see how ambitious Steve Parish and Dougie Freedman will be in revamping the squad. 

If they can tempt Maksimovic to Selhurst Park, it would be a statement of intent that the duo are serious about taking the team forwards.

Since arriving at Napoli in 2016, Maksimovic has appeared in the Champions League on 11 occasions, and featured in a Europa League quarter-final against Arsenal in 2019. Meanwhile, at domestic level, he lifted the Coppa Italia last year. 

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Adrian Mariappa

Adrian Mariappa

He is a player with real pedigree who is used to performing in the biggest competitions, and his experience from these matches could rub off on the rest of the squad. Maksimovic could prove to be an important signing in helping Palace push up a level, rather than settling for another bottom half finish next year.

For him to do that, however, Parish and Freedman will need to show their nous and ambition in bringing a player with Champions League experience to Selhurst Park. 

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