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June 5 2020 10.46am

Transfer gossip: Guaita, Sorloth

April 2 2020

Selhurst Park (Photo: Andy Roberts)

Selhurst Park (Photo: Andy Roberts)

Through what is expected to one of the sporting world’s toughest times, the coronavirus pandemic has put the English Premier League on hold, but the football business must continue, writes Peter Blake.

Crystal Palace has been defending their players from big clubs whilst making a few transfer enquiries themselves. Will the London side return stronger, once the pandemic has settled down?

Manchester City and Valencia gun for Guaita

The coronavirus putting football on hold may not turn out well for Palace’s squad of talent. Vincente Guaita has drawn interest from fellow Premier League side Manchester City and Spanish La Liga club Valencia, and they should do everything they can to avoid losing him.

Reports have claimed that Valencia have placed the Palace goalkeeper on their list of targets for the summer, while Manchester City have recently been monitoring the keeper’s situation.

His current contract will expire at the end of next season, so I think it’s time for Palace to lock in a deal before it’s too late, a free transfer deal wouldn’t sit well with the board, or the fans.

Guaita is the 6th ranked for save percentage this season in the division with 75 per cent. He’s been a significant member of the squad, especially at Selhurst Park. Henderson, Schmeichel, Henderson, Alisson, Lloris and Bernd Leno are the only goalkeepers ahead of him on the stat sheet.

Evidence that Palace need to hold on to him, his efforts are a crucial part of the structure in their defence. In order to replace his current form, Palace would have to pay out millions during the summer which could be money used elsewhere.

Alexander Sorloth draws interest

City aren’t the only side in Manchester who are interested in a Palace as, as Manchester United make their interest known in striker Alexander Sorloth.

Currently on loan at Turkish side Trabzonspor, United joined a long-list of big clubs who are interested in signing him. Napoli, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Real Madrid are all reportedly willing to strike a deal.

Palace put him on loan last summer with an option to buy for six million euros. The Turkish side Trabzonspor could now profit a huge 24 million euros if they were able to sign him and sell him on. The clubs interested in Sorloth are some of the best in the world, which could leave Palace management left with their heads held low.

Sorloth made 12 Premier League appearances for Palace last season but failed to score in any of the games. Once he settled in at Trabzonspor he bagged 19 goals in 26 games which began the outside interest.

If United, or any of the other clubs highlighted, manages to sign Sorloth for 30 million then Palace will be left with huge regret in their decision and instead of making a huge profit, may only take a 6 million return because of the loan deal made with Trabzonspor.

English Premier League plan to restart the season

We can call it and speculate on transfers and signings but how relevant can this information be. Given the current coronavirus pandemic and its level of seriousness, schedules are up in the air.

If the season were to be cancelled, it’d surely be a robbery over Liverpool if they weren’t handed the title. Liverpool are still favourites to win, of course, given they have the opportunity.

Clubs across the country attempt to figure out a solution in order to finish competitive domestic football, with the latest idea suggesting that plays should be quarantined at hotels in a bid to get the season finished within four weeks.

The idea came as a talking topic for the next meeting, in a desperate bid to end the season within the space of a month, games would be played behind closed doors with all players kept in quarantine to avoid the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.

Stadiums would receive a deep clean, as well as hotels, training facilities and staff would be under strict health & safety guidelines.

Christian Machowski, who works for ESEM, specialises in travel management for the biggest sides in Europe.

He said: "Teams don't want to be stuck on a bus for 45 minutes to an hour, travelling to a game.

“Everybody wants the best for their team, but there are only a small number of elite hotels that are suitable.

“For example, there are two or three hotels in London where all the teams tend to stay when they play there.

“To find a venue where 20 teams can find facilities up to the required standard is just not workable.

“In terms of training facilities, teams would also want to be as a close as possible, so that would present problems.

“Then you would have to quarantine the same hotel staff for three or four weeks. And if one team picked up an infection, whether it's a player or member of staff, that's the end of the tournament.

“It's not about teams staying in luxury; it's complicated because the infrastructure is so finely tuned for clubs in terms of what they need.”

Completely debunking this method and with no blame, this plan seems so far-fetched that I’m surprised it made its way into the discussion. Maybe it’s time to accept defeat and focus on the pandemic.

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