The midfield signing that will help Palace solve Cabaye conundrum

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Crystal Palace: 2016/17 top-four finish

Looking purely at attacking statistics, Yohan Cabaye has to be regarded as an underachiever at Crystal Palace last season.

The France Euro 2016 finalist scored only five goals (three of which penalties) and registered a solitary assist in 33 Premier League appearances.

Supporters may have been more expectant of performances on par with Cabaye’s final season at Newcastle, when he contributed seven goals (none penalties) and two assists in just 19 games before being sold to PSG.

One of the main problems for Cabaye is that rarely was he used in an attacking midfield capacity, instead being asked to attempt to orchestrate play from deep positions as one of the two midfield protectors in front of the back four.

Manager Alan Pardew is certainly not hanging about when it comes to bringing in new recruits this summer, with Steve Mandanda, James Tomkins and Andros Townsend already through the Selhurst Park door. Links with a £30m move for Christian Benteke to solve their clear need for a reliable goalscorer refuse to die down either.

However, there is one more available player that Palace should be considering to not only enhance their prospects of a top-half Premier League finish this season, but also ensure that the Eagles see a greater return from Cabaye.

Brazilian midfielder Hernanes is thought to be available on loan from Juventus and his unique set of attributes would initially appear to be an ideal fit with the other players in the Palace squad.

The problem Hernanes appears to have is that a team almost needs to be built around him. He is not a natural fit as a number 10 because of his difficulties playing with his back to goal, he is not a deep-lying playmaker because of weaknesses with the defensive side of his game and he is not the most energetic to be asked to perform box-to-box duties.

Where he is effective is with his passing range with both feet, his accuracy in feeding other creative players and dictating the tempo of a game.

He is best fit into a 4-3-3 system with a reliable holding presence behind him and three straight seasons with Lazio registering double-figure tallies for goals across all competitions showcase a decent attacking threat.

Palace have the personnel to get the most from Hernanes, with he and Cabaye given a bit more freedom in midfield and the Frenchman having the licence to play closer to the opposing penalty box.

The directness of Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha, Jason Puncheon and Townsend in the wide areas would give the pair plenty of out-balls, while some protection would exist from the third midfielder, whether this be Mile Jedinak, James McArthur or Joe Ledley.

Hernanes would represent somewhat of a risk and the quicker tempo of the Premier League over Serie A is not certain to play to his strengths, but on a loan deal, the rewards for Palace could be sizeable.

After all, only three teams completed fewer passes in the top flight last term than the Eagles.

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

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.