Frank de Boer is keen to build a solid foundation to his Crystal Palace side as the Dutchman looks to avoid being around the bottom of the table, come next May.
De Boer, who became Palace manager just two weeks ago, knows the defence is an area which requires strengthening. The Eagles conceded 63 goals in the league last season, which is too many if they want to avoid another relegation fight.
One acquisition De Boer could make is that of Belgium international defender Thomas Vermaelen, who would be his first major signing as Crystal Palace boss. According to The Mirror, this is a transfer that is a real possibility for the London club.
Last season, Mamadou Sakho had a successful loan spell and Palace were keen on making the move permanent. However, Liverpool’s asking price is too high, meaning cheaper options are being explored.
Former Arsenal star Vermaelen has therefore emerged as one of De Boer’s main transfer targets.
The 59-times capped Belgian international played 150 times for The Gunners during his five years in London. He then moved to Barcelona for £15 million in August 2014.
Injuries plagued his first season at the Nou Camp, with his debut not coming until the final day of the 2014/15 campaign. He then made just ten league appearances for Barca in 2015/16.
Last season was spent on loan at Serie A side Roma. The Italian side did have the option to turn the deal into a permanent one, but that hasn’t happened.
Although Vermaelen has two years remaining on his contract, it’s believed the Spanish club will listen to offers. The players representatives have also apparently indicated Vermaelen would be keen on a return to the Premier League.
The defender may have struggled for the past couple of seasons, but could reignite his career at Palace.
De Boer has reportedly also made enquiries about Barcelona’s number two goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, whom he managed at Ajax.
The Dutch stopper made only one league appearance in La Liga last season, following an £11.5 million move. He is now rumoured to be considering his future. If he does leave Barca, he could be tempted by a reunion with his old Ajax boss.
One transfer target De Boer looks set to miss out on is Dutch right-back Kenny Tete. Palace were said to be close to securing a deal for the 21-year-old, but he looks set on completing a move to Lyon instead.
With just a month until the Premier League season kicks off, the Palace boss will be keen to make his first signing as soon as possible.
Peter Reynolds, Pundit Arena