This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert faces a tough task if he is to hold onto centre-back Luke Woolfenden, according to a report on website TWTD, with Crystal Palace one of the clubs interested in the 21-year-old who is enjoying an excellent 2019-20 campaign in League One.
Palace are joined by Leeds United, QPR and Sheffield United in the race to sign the defender who signed a contract until the summer of 2022, back in February 2019.
So would Woolfenden prove a good signing for the Eagles and is he good enough for the Premier League?
“He’s not at that level yet but he could be a very good player in the years to come.
“At 21-years-old, Woolfenden is still very young and Palace would clearly be buying him for his potential. Plus, they aren’t desperate for centre-backs now given the depth they have.
“So, as a long-term investment it would be a smart move and he could really benefit from training with someone like Gary Cahill on a daily basis.
“The Ipswich man will understand that he needs to be patient in the long-run and may spend part of next season out on loan but he does have the ability to be a top-flight centre-back.”
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“It will depend if they are able to get him on a free in the summer or not.
“His contract is set to expire in June but if the Tractor Boys choose to extend that deal or not remains to be seen.
“At 21, there is obviously a lot of potential there. But is he ready for the Premier League? You would have to say probably not.
“Perhaps if they do a similar thing to Brighton this season with Matt Clark in signing him from League One before loaning him out to a Championship side, it could work out.”
“This may be a useful piece of business from Palace.
“Admittedly, with Woolfenden only playing League One at the minute, it would be a big step up for him to make in going directly to the Premier League with the Eagles.
“However, it is worth remembering that at only 21-years-old, Woolfenden still has plenty of time to develop and improve in his career, while Palace do have other more than reliable defensive options to cover in that position while the current Ipswich man gets to that point where he is ready to play in the top-flight.
“With that in mind, it could be sensible for Palace to move now for Woolfenden, before one of their Premier League rivals also realises this and swoops in to prevent them from securing the services of a player who could one day be a useful asset.”