Crystal Palace could target a defensive midfielder as their marquee signing for the summer

Crystal Palace could prioritise a new defensive midfielder if they make ‘one big signing’ during the summer transfer window, according to journalist Tom Barclay.

The Eagles are in the midst of a squad rebuild following the arrival of manager Patrick Vieira and are expected to be active when the market re-opens in a few months’ time.

What is the latest news involving Palace?

Under former boss Roy Hodgson, Palace had the oldest squad in the Premier League last season with an average age of 28.8, according to Transfermarkt.

But Vieira set about lowering that figure instantly upon his arrival as Hodgson’s successor at Selhurst Park, sanctioning the departures of several experienced campaigners.

The likes of Gary Cahill, Andros Townsend and Scott Dann were allowed to exit south London on free transfers before being replaced by multiple young, exciting acquisitions.

Odsonne Edouard, Michael Olise and Marc Guehi were all brought in to mark a new era at Palace, bringing the average age down to 26.9 for the current campaign.

However, Vieira’s overhaul of the first-team squad is far from complete, and the French tactician could be in for a busy summer as he looks to ensure the capital club’s progression both on and off the pitch.

What has Barclay said about Palace?

With ageing stars such as Jordan Ayew, James McArthur and Cheikhou Kouyate also entering the final months of their existing contracts, the Palace hierarchy are set to make some tough decisions.

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A report by London World claims the 78-cap Senegal international is demanding an increase on his existing £65,000-per-week wages and a new two-year deal.

Yet Palace aren’t prepared to hand the 32-year-old a contract longer than 12 months after choosing to prioritise youth, and Barclay believes a new defensive midfielder is likely to be targeted.

He told GiveMeSport: “But I think if there’s going to be one big signing, apart from maybe a forward, it might be in that position (defensive midfield). So, whether that affects what they want to do with Kouyate’s new deal, I don’t know.”

Do Palace need a new midfielder?

Loan star Conor Gallagher has been widely tipped to return to parent club Chelsea for next season after impressing throughout his temporary star with Palace where he’s racked up 12 goal contributions already.

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And with McArthur, Kouyate and Jeffrey Schlupp fast approaching the end of their contracts, there could be significant changes made to the Eagles’ engine room next term.

Only time will tell if Vieira makes a defensive-minded ace his priority, but he could be forced to make multiple midfield signings.

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