Pulis reportedly prepares swoop for former Stoke favourite

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis is preparing to raid his former side, Stoke City, if latest reports are to be believed.

According to the Stoke Sentinel, the Eagles are looking into the possibility of signing midfielder Steven N’Zonzi.

During his time at Stoke City, Pulis once tipped the 25-year-old to go on and star in the Champions League, and while this prediction is yet to materialise, he could be instead on the verge of a slightly lesser move to Selhurst Park, with the Palace management confident he can lead them to a third successive Premier League season.

Palace are in need of midfield reinforcements and, having missed out on a wealth of alternative players, N’Zonzi has been shortlisted as an ideal target. The Frenchman struggled for action under the leadership of new Potters boss Mark Hughes last season, and after submitting a transfer request earlier in the summer, he could soon be re-united with his former head coach.

  TeamPosGoalsGoal AssistTotal Att AssistPass Succ Rate (%)Dribble Succ Rate (%)Tackle Succ Rate (%)Touches / appsPoss Lost / appsAppsMins
Steven N'Zonzi Stoke MF 2 1 33 87.16 59.52 79.03 67.28 10.39 36 3,041

Despite a lack of game-time under Hughes, he made a vital contribution to the Potters’ season, particularly with his efforts towards the end of the campaign. In total he scored on two occasions, while creating a further 32 chances for his teammates.

He proved a formidable force in the centre of the park, completing 87% of his attempted passes and 66% of his attempted take ons. He proved fantastic in possession and for this reason he has become a valuable asset to his current club.

As per WhoScored.com, just 27% of Palace’s attacks came down the middle last term, therefore it is clear to see the reasoning behind Pulis’s transfer priorities. The Eagles also averaged a pass success rate of just 71%, completing just 263 passes per match, on average.

If the price is right, N’Zonzi would be a suitable addition heading into the upcoming season. Stoke would be willing to sell, as long as the club believes it can use the money to bring in further additions, however there remains a question mark over whether Palace will meet their valuation.

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