Dan Cook recently spoke on the HLTCO podcast and claimed that new Crystal Palace signing Chris Richards can shine for the club next season with his ability to play across the backline and provide depth for the key defenders.
The Eagles have done great work in the summer transfer window so far, bringing in Cheick Doucoure, Sam Johnstone, Malcolm Ebiowei, and now Chris Richards from Bayern Munich, with a few weeks still to go before the deadline.
Richards can play across the backline and help back up the likes of Marc Guehi and Tyrick Mitchell, which makes it a ‘very savvy’ signing for the south London outfit, according to Cook.
He said on the HLTCO podcast: “It’s just, I think, a very savvy deal on every level. To sign a five-year contract, a 22-year-old, already got international experience, someone that’s capable of playing on either foot all across the backline. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but it just makes all sorts of sense.
“It gives us cover for Mark Guehi and Joachim Andersen, it gives us cover on the right-hand side, it gives us cover for Tyrick Mitchell. It’s just a deal that is sort of a Swiss Army knife defender.”
TIF Thoughts on Cook’s comments…
Palace have reportedly bought the American defender in for around £8.5m from Bayern and has signed a five-year deal, which for a player at 22 and with international experience, certainly seems a smart move from the Palace hierarchy.
Last season while on loan at Hoffenheim, Richards played at centre-back, but also featured – albeit briefly – on the left for Bayern and can also play as a right-back.
He made 19 appearances in the Bundesliga and picked up one goal and one assist while impressively ranking in the 99th percentile for blocks, in the 98th for aerial duels won and in the 82nd for progressive passes compared to other centre-backs across Europe’s top five leagues.
Palace have two starters in Guehi and Andersen, while Mitchell has locked down the left-back role, with Tayo Adaramola going out on loan. But the right-back position has been a huge problem for the Eagles and Richards can help bring competition for Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Ward.
He can also aid Guehi and Andersen with rest in both cup competitions and the Premier League, making him not just an important figure in the future, but now as well.
Will Richards start for Palace?