Tony Pulis’ Eagles emerge as surprise contenders to secure the signing of Steven Caulker from Cardiff City.
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Crystal Palace have today been linked with a surprise move for defender Steven Caulker from relegated Cardiff City, report the Telegraph, an audacious move considering that the former Spurs man has been linked with both his former club and Arsenal this summer.
Caulker is reported to have a release clause of around £8 million in his contract, a fee that would represent good value for money despite Caulker’s Cardiff team having failed in their bid to retain Premier League status last season.
The England international has only been at the Cardiff City Stadium for twelve months, having signed for the club from Tottenham after their promotion to the Premier League as Championship winners.
The 2013/14 season was a tumultuous one for the club, however, with owner Vincent Tan controversially replacing Malky Mackay with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer half way through the campaign, a decision that seemed to accelerate the Welsh club’s slide back into the Football League.
Perhaps due to the reasonable-looking clause in his contract, Premier League clubs appear to have been queueing up for a chance to talk to Caulker this summer, but the link of Premier Giants Arsenal to the former Spurs man was perhaps the most intriguing.
With this in mind, it would be a superb coup for Palace manager Tony Pulis if he is able to engineer a move to bring the player to South London as the Welshman looks to build on an excellent season in which he kept the Eagles in the Premier League despite a nightmare start under Ian Holloway.
The club are not flush with cash, however, so spending £8m on Caulker would represent a huge leap of faith from Palace and a real show of belief in the defender’s ability.
Caulker came through the youth system at White Hart Lane but did not establish himself in the first team at the club until he had impressed in loan spells with Yeovil Town, Bristol City and Swansea City.
This form persuaded Andre Villas-Boas to give him a chance in the first team at the club and he even earned an England call-up, before the Portuguese manager and technical director Franco Baldini surprisingly decided to sell him to Cardiff in favour of Romanian Vlad Chiriches, who has only impressed in spurts during his maiden season in England.
Signing Caulker would also continue a clear policy at Selhurst Park of building a core of young, British players, with the likes of Joe Ledley, Jonny Williams, Joel Ward, Barry Bannan and Dwight Gayle all important members of Pulis’ first team squad at the club.