Crystal Palace completed the signing of long-term target Odsonne Edouard (£6.5m) on transfer deadline-day, for a reported fee of £14m plus add-ons.
The highly-rated striker endured a successful spell at former club Celtic, where he scored 86 goals in 179 appearances, but was facing an uncertain future with just one year remaining on his contract.
Now at Selhurst Park, it is expected that he will compete with Christian Benteke (£6.4m) and Jean-Philippe Mateta (£5.4m) for the lone-striker role under Patrick Vieira.
Upon his signing, Chairman Steve Parish said:
“Odsonne is a player of proven quality. He was a player in high demand and I’m delighted he chose to join Crystal Palace as another fantastic addition to our squad.”
Edouard has thrived in the Scottish top-flight, but what exactly will he bring to Palace and can he make the step-up to the Premier League?
We’ll attempt to answer those questions and assess his potential Fantasy Premier League (FPL) worth in the article below.
THE HISTORY OF ODSONNE EDOUARD
Born in French Guiana, Edouard began his career in France with AF Bobigny and the Paris Saint-Germain Academy.
During his time in PSG’s development system, he was a prolific goalscorer, netting over 60 goals in two seasons, and also impressed at international level, bagging 17 goals from 15 France Under-17 appearances.
That ability saw him named PSG fans Academy Player of the Year for 2015 and earnt him a professional contract with the senior side shortly after. However, he failed to make a first-team appearance, and spent most of his time in the reserves.
As a result, Edouard was sent out on loan to Toulouse in 2016, which is where he made his competitive debut, scoring one goal in 17 appearances.
He then joined Celtic on loan the following summer, before signing a permanent deal in 2018. His excellent performances in Scotland helped the club win three Scottish Premiership titles and four domestic Cups, while individually, he won the SFWA Footballer of the Year 19/20 award as the league’s top goalscorer.
His record after moving to Glasgow in 2017 speaks for itself.
|2016/17||Toulouse (loan)||4 (12)||1||0|
|2017/18||Celtic (loan)||12 (10)||9||2|
Above stats via FBref
Internationally, he has represented France at U17 to U21 level, and in the coming seasons will hope to make the step-up to the seniors.
Edouard, 23, is a quick technically gifted centre-forward, who’s movement and positioning sees him often drift wide to the left.
Odsonne Edouard’s touch heat map 2020/21 via Sofa Score
He is happy to drop deep to link-play or run in behind the opposition backline, something Palace have been crying out for during the opening three weeks of the season.
“We needed to change by running a little bit more in behind. In the first half it was easy for West Ham to defend because we always wanted the ball at our feet, but in the second half we stretched them a bit more and that allowed our forwards to create a situation to go inside of them, and we scored the two goals.” – Patrick Vieira, speaking after the 2-2 draw at West Ham United in Gameweek 3
However, it is his finishing ability which really stands out. He is composed, capable with either foot, while his quick feet means that he can fire off shots from tight spaces.
COMPARISON WITH PALACE ASSETS IN 2020/21
|Goals per 90||Shots per 90||Assists per 90||Key passes per 90|
|Edouard (for Celtic)||0.7||4.2||0.2||1.5|
|Olise (for Reading)||0.2||2.0||0.3||2.3|
|Gallagher (for West Brom)||0.1||2.0||0.1||1.0|
Above stats from the Fantasy Football Scout Members Area and WhoScored
Edouard’s underlying stats for goal threat were well above those of any of his new team-mates but, we should factor in the inferior level of competition in the Scottish top flight.
Nevertheless, 4.2 shots and 0.7 goals per 90 minutes are encouraging numbers, even accounting for the expected drop-off in the Premier League.
However, at this stage we should note that Edouard’s output was boosted by a share of dead-ball duties at Celtic, including direct free-kicks and penalties.
Palace have struggled in front of goal this season, failing to score in their opening two matches, so it was clear that they needed to strengthen up front.
The centre-forward role has been taken by either Benteke or Mateta so far, neither of whom have scored, so with Edouard fully fit and ready to go, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he was thrown straight in against Tottenham Hotspur in Gameweek 4.
Indeed, Edouard’s last appearance came for Celtic last Sunday as he played 68 minutes for the Bhoys in their 1-0 Old Firm loss against Rangers at Ibrox, so his fitness shouldn’t be an issue.
Encouragingly for Palace, they did show signs of improvement in the second half of Saturday’s 2-2 draw at West Ham United, which they will need to build on given their testing schedule:
That suggests that we have plenty of time to scout Edouard, before possibly making a move in Gameweeks 9 or 11, if he shows us enough potential that is.
Finally, Palace have landed a recognised goalscorer, who offers Vieira a different type of striker who will look to make runs in behind.
Importantly, he will also add energy to his team.
In 2020/21, the Eagles had the oldest squad in the Premier League, but have recruited well over the summer and prioritised youth by bringing in younger players with real potential like Marc Guehi (£4.5m), Michael Olise (£5.4m) and Conor Gallagher (£5.5m).
However, we should of course factor in the lower standard of the Scottish Premiership when assessing Edouard, and it does perhaps feel like he will need penalties and a share of direct free-kicks if he is to truly compete with the likes of Adam Armstrong (£6.0m) and Ivan Toney (£6.4m) for a place in our FPL squads.
Now the challenge for Edouard is to settle quickly and consistently deliver. If Palace can get that out of him, he might just be worth adding to our Watchlists ahead of their fixture swing.
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