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In case he was unaware, the size of the task Patrick Vieira faces at Crystal Palace should have become as clear as a crisp Scandinavian sky this week. 

With a staggering 11 senior players leaving on free transfers, the first training session must have looked more like the first day at school, with baby-faced kids and budding up-and-comers drafted in to make up the numbers.

And, with the transfer market in stasis during Euro 2020, the under-manned Eagles have just seven weeks to add to a seriously depleted squad.

As it stands, Palace have just 17 first-team players at their disposal with Michael Olise, snapped up from Reading in midweek, the only newcomer. 

ENGLAND REACH THEIR FIRST FINAL SINCE 1966 | Kane, Sterling, & Co Make History In Euro 2020 Semis

ENGLAND REACH THEIR FIRST FINAL SINCE 1966 | Kane, Sterling, & Co Make History In Euro 2020 Semis

Furthermore, Vieira’s hopes of strengthening a defence already shorn of the services of Mamadou Sakho, Scott Dann and Gary Cahill may have just taken an untimely hit thanks, no less, to their white-clad rivals from down the road. 

Is Tottenham chasing Lacroix a problem for Crystal Palace?

Tottenham Hotspur have set their sights on Maxence Lacroix, the elegant centre-half whose commanding performances last season helped a rock-solid Wolfsburg seal a place in the Champions League (Fabrizio Romano). 

The Wolves have stood firm so far – rejecting a £20 million bid from RB Leipzig – but a side now under the stewardship of former Netherlands ankle-grinder Mark van Bommel is already preparing for life without the 21-year-old Frenchman. 

Photo by Max Maiwald/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

According to BILD, Wolfsburg have identified Cologne’s long-limbed Sebastiaan Bornauw as the man to take Lacroix’s place at the heart of arguably the Bundesliga’s best back line.

And this is where Crystal Palace come in. 

Palace have expressed their interest in Bornauw too and would have been thrilled to learn the Belgium international handed in a transfer request this week.

But while the lure of the Premier League shouldn’t be underestimated, the prospect of Champions League football at Wolfsburg may be too good to resist. 

“We had a conversation. His advisors have registered his wish that (Bornauw) would like to move to Wolfsburg,” Cologne interim sporting director Jorg Jakobs confirms. 

Should Tottenham land Lacroix, it may be the final nail in Crystal Palace’s Bornauw coffin. Vieira needs to start shopping – and soon.

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