The reported January transfer target Palace must make their priority signing this summer

Crystal Palace should look to bring in Middlesbrough's Lee Tomlin this summer.

Crystal Palace should be looking to target Middlesbrough's Lee Tomlin in the summer as he has the potential to push them on to the next level.

Palace's interest in Tomlin was reported in the Mirror in January, but they were unable to complete a deal before the close of the transfer window.

It means that the attacking midfielder has stuck with Middlesbrough until the end of the season, but the Eagles should be looking to pounce in the summer.

Tomlin has made no secret of his desire to play in the Premier League and he looks perfectly capable of performing a function at a higher level.

His display against Manchester City in the FA Cup - where he helped guide 'Boro to a 2-0 win - has been the most notable of his career so far and it proved his class.

Tomlin was a box of tricks against City, with his showing catching the eye of every onlooker at the Etihad Stadium.

It was a high class performance which looked fitting of someone playing at a much higher level than the second tier, but it was the sort of showing that he has been putting in on a regular basis in the Championship this season.

Tomlin has been one of Middlesbrough's main assets as they have mounted a promotion push with his creativity central to their chances. 

The attacking midfielder has claimed six goals and four assists this season, but also notable are his stats in other areas.

  TeamGoalsGoal AssistChances created per gameDribbles per gameTouches per gameShots per gamePasses per gameForward passes per gameAppearancesMins Played
Lee Tomlin Middlesbrough 6 4 1.37 1.14 40.44 1.66 28.71 9.66 27 1782

Tomlin sends over one third of his passes forward, showing his natural attacking instincts, and he creates over a chance per game for his teammates. 

This is something which has been missing from Palace's game, with their offensive players more notable for their pace and power than their technical ability.

Tomlin, therefore, would give them a different threat if he were to join and the signs are that he would fit in perfectly.

Since Alan Pardew has taken over, he has brought Dwight Gayle in from the cold and made him one of the team's main players and he could benefit hugely from Tomlin's arrival.

The pairing played up front for Peterborough United previously in their careers and they formed a telepathic understanding of each other's games.

It became one of the Championship's most threatening offensive lines and there is no reason why it couldn't work to similar effect in the Premier League.

Seeing the lightning speed of Gayle, Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha combined with the creativity of Tomlin is a tantalising prospect for Palace fans and they should make him their first target in the summer. 

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