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Peter Odemwingie could be a smart gamble for Crystal Palace

The West Bromwich Albion striker has been linked with a move to Crystal Palace this summer, and Odemwingie could be an excellent signing as Ian Holloway looks to add some Premier League experience to his side.

Whatever he achieves in the rest of his career, Peter Odemwingie will never be able to live down the events of 31st January 2013, where his attempts to manufacture a move from West Bromwich Albion to QPR rightly drew derision as one of the most bizarre events of last season.

Understandably his relationship with West Brom has soured, and the Nigerian will try and leave the club again this summer, with Crystal Palace ready to give Odemwingie a chance to redeem himself in the Premier League.

It would clearly be a gamble, with Odemwingie’s off the field antics hardly redeemed by his indifferent form at the Hawthorns last season, where he scored just five league goals in 25 appearances. However Odemwingie has the talent to be a success at Palace, and few players will have as much to prove.

His returns at West Brom in the previous two seasons have been more impressive, netting 25 goals in 62 appearances while often being used on the flanks rather than through the centre. When on form, Odemwingie is a fine finisher, and his ability to play in several positions in an attack would be useful for Palace, who face starting the season without the injured Glenn Murray and the departed Wilfried Zaha.

Ian Holloway is clearly a fan of the player, and the backing he can provide will help in getting Odemwingie back to his best. Having enjoyed an exciting if ultimately unsuccessful season with Blackpool in the Premier League Holloway is well aware of the challenge Palace face next year, and bringing in experienced players like Odemwingie can only help their chances of survival.

Unless several other teams enter the race for the forward, West Brom are unlikely to be able to demand a high fee for Odemwingie, with any interested parties knowing they will be keen to get him off their books.

An early Palace move could see them secure a player with a decent Premier League record at a bargain price, and those kind of opportunities do not come around very often.

image: © Mick Baker

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