Early start could see Crystal Palace steal march in Celtic race

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Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has said his side’s safety allows him to start his transfer activity early and this could allow the Eagles to beat a host of rivals to the signing of Virgil van Dijk.

Celtic’s Dutch centre back has attracted a number of admiring glances, with Southampton and Arsenal among those rumoured to be interested, but Pardew is credited with a long-standing admiration, having attempted to take the defender to Newcastle while in charge at St James’ Park.

Also, with the Selhurst Park outfit clear of the relegation scrap and out of touching distance for European places, Pardew is free to set about acquiring his targets much earlier than rival managers.

Pardew replaced Neil Warnock as Eagles manager with his remit being to keep the south London club in the Premier League and with an 11-point cushion the job appears to be done with plenty of time to spare.

Commenting on how he will use this time, Pardew said: “If you are fighting and battling until the last game, you are missing out because other teams can start putting packages together and working on players to come in. That is what we will do now.

“We are pretty secure in approaching clubs and players that we are a Premier League side and have the finance to do what we say we are going to do. So it does give us a slight advantage.”

Van Dijk is contracted to the Bhoys until June 2017 but it is well known he sees his future away from the club and in particular in the Premier League.

Some of the other clubs attributed with an interest may be able to offer the 23-year-old more money and the opportunity to play European football but Palace are more likely to be able to offer a starting berth on a regular basis, potentially making the Eagles the most attractive option.

Palace are now as short as 6/1 to finish in the Premier League’s top 10 and the arrival of a defender of Van Dijk’s ilk could mean next season’s objectives are even higher still.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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