Europa star Cedric Bakambu shows Crystal Palace and Swansea what they missed out on

Villarreal, El Madrigal

Cedric Bakambu revealed that both Palace and the Swans were keen on a move for the striker during his Sochaux days before he went elsewhere.

Villarreal’s Europa League clash with Dinamo Minsk would have been one of interest to those fans of Swansea City and Crystal Palace who also happen to be in possession of particularly good memories.

Back in the summer of 2014, both clubs were reported to be tracking a young France-born striker tipped for a bright future in the game.

Fast forward just over a year and who should be lining up for the Yellow Submarine but the same forward, a little older and a little wiser.

Cedric Bakambu first came to the attention of Palace and Swansea after rising through the ranks of Sochaux.

A skilful, quick presence in the French game, Bakambu may have only scored seven league goals during his final season with the then-Ligue 2 side, but they came as part of a side that struggled against relegation for much of the campaign.

The late appointment of cult ex-Zambia and Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard almost saw Sochaux pull off the great escape, helped by Bakambu’s goals and overall team play, but it wasn’t enough.

Despite this, the 24-year-old looked set for big things, revealing interest from three key clubs during an interview with France Football, republished in the Evening Standard:

"I have offers, notably from Freiburg in Germany and in England from Swansea," he explained at the time.

"I am hesitating between the two ... I am giving myself two to three days to decide, no more. I know that at Swansea I might not be first-choice striker. There are several things to consider, not just the prestige of the club.

"But I am flattered. I'm at an age where I need to play. Crystal Palace are also interested, I think it will be between those three [Swansea, Crystal Palace and Freiburg]."

What happened next remains something of a mystery, though, with either Makambu opting against a move where first-team football was far from guaranteed or Swansea and Palace deciding against the move.

If the latter is correct, however, then the Premier League pair may have been left ruing that decision.

Sold on to Turkish side Bursapor, Bakambu enjoyed a spectacular first season away from France, netting 21 goals in 39 games.

And it was that return that convinced Villarreal to take a gamble on the 24-year-old, with the Congo international arriving at El Madrigal over the summer.

It’s proved to be a match made in heaven so far, with Bakambu scoring two decisive goals in a 3-1 La Liga win over Espanyol just nine days after signing with the Spanish side.

An energetic, hard-working presence in the Villarreal frontline, the former Sochaux man looks to have matured and is facing up to the challenge of usurping Roberto Soldado in the starting line-up.

Selected to face Dinamo Minsk in the Europa League, Bakambu bagged two first half goals and a nomination as one of the players of Matchday 3 in the process.

Still young enough to make a major impact on the European game, don’t be surprised to see the forward arrive in the Premier League some time soon – just don’t expect it to be at either Palace or Swansea.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch