Crystal Palace transfer rumours: Eagles eye experienced defender

Southampton defender and Crystal Palace target Ryan Bertrand on the ground

Crystal Palace are monitoring Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand ahead of the upcoming transfer window, as revealed by the Evening Standard.

What's the latest news on Ryan Bertrand?

Bertrand announced earlier this week that he will be leaving St Mary's at the end of the season after spending the last seven years on the South Coast.

There is now interest from a number of clubs in securing the signature of the soon-to-be free agent. Arsenal and Leicester are reportedly keen on the 31-year-old, while AC Milan are also keeping an eye on Bertrand.

This indicates that Palace could have a battle on their hands to land their man this summer.

What is Bertrand's pedigree?

He has had a long and distinguished career, featuring for Chelsea and Aston Villa amongst others before moving to Southampton. 

Indeed, he had his greatest triumphs at Chelsea in terms of trophies, winning the FA Cup and Europa League with the Blues. He also famously lifted the Champions League trophy in 2012, as Roberto Di Matteo's team defied the odds to beat Bayern Munich - Bertrand started in the final.

Bertrand has made 258 top-flight appearances, and has made his mark on the international stage as well. The experienced full-back has earned 19 caps for England, and represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics.

How does he compare to Patrick van Aanholt this season?

If Bertrand does move to Selhurst Park this summer, he would likely replace Patrick van Aanholt, who is out of contract at the club next month.

When comparing the pair's statistics this term, via WhoScored, Bertrand holds the clear advantage when it comes to completed tackles (60 to 34), while the duo are locked together on 30 interceptions apiece in the Premier League.

They are also closely matches from an attacking perspective. The Southampton man has made more key passes (14 to 12), whereas van Aanholt has made more successful dribbles (10 to 3).

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Are Palace in danger of making the same mistake?

The club are set for a major rebuild this summer, with a number of players out of contract, including van Aanholt. Roy Hodgson's deal also runs out in June, meaning that there could be a new manager at the helm next season.

Whoever is in charge is reportedly set to be given £50m to spend on transfers, so this summer could be an exciting time for the club's supporters. It's a golden opportunity to refresh the squad in one fell swoop, and address the fact they have the oldest squad in the top-flight. Palace's back line gives a particular cause for concern - Gary Cahill, Scott Dann and Mamadou Sakho are all well into their thirties now.

But Palace's interest in Bertrand suggests chairman Steve Parish and director Dougie Freedman could be about to waste the club's chance to create a squad that looks towards the long-term. The Eagles should be looking to add some much-needed youth to their squad and especially the defence, but instead they are going after another experienced Premier League player who is arguably past his best.

That's certainly what his statistics suggest, as Bertrand has been given an average match rating of 6.41 by WhoScored this season - the lowest mark he has received across a whole campaign in his career. If they do land Bertrand, Palace will be stuck in the same mess in a few years' time - having another player in their mid-thirties with little sell-on value.

Palace have a fantastic opportunity to start building for the future, but targeting players like Bertrand puts them in real danger of wasting it.

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