Crystal Palace could have a star on their hands in the shape of teenager Kevin Gonzalez, with the playmaker’s agent comparing him to Bayern Munich superstar Philippe Coutinho in quotes reported by Tuttomercatoweb.
Where Palace’s academy is concerned, it has been a case of quality rather than quantity in recent years. Wilfried Zaha and Aaron Wan-Bissaka both rose through the ranks at Selhurst Park but other examples are few and far between with the likes of Jonny Williams and Sulley Kaikai failing to live up to initial expectations.
So you would forgive Palace fans if they are unwilling to get too carried away by a teenager who still has a long way to go before he can compete for a first-team place.
But Gonzalez, who has been labelled the ‘little jewel’ in his native Colombia, is not short of talent or technical ability with the 18-year-old agent drawing comparisons between him and a £142 million Brazil international.
“Crystal Palace is focusing on him for the future,” claimed Gonzalez’s agent Joao Santos.
“He's a Coutinho guy. I believe he will sign a professional contract with the English club. He is a very talented player with an important future.”
Palace currently have the joint-second oldest squad in the Premier League but manager Roy Hodgson is making a concerted and refreshing effort to reduce the average age of his ranks.
Scott Banks and Jay-Rich Baghuelou both arrived at Selhurst Park from Dundee United and Welling during the January transfer window while highly-rated forward Brandon Pierrick made his first-team bow recently.
Technically gifted attacking midfielders are few and far between at one of the Premier League’s most goal-shy outfits and, if Gonzalez really does have a touch of the Coutinhos about him, he will surely catch Hodgson’s eye sooner rather than later.
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