BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Joachim Andersen became Crystal Palace’s most high-profile signing of the summer transfer window on Wednesday evening.
The 25-year-old centre-back, whose form on loan for Fulham last season had seen him linked with Tottenham, West Ham and Manchester United, could end up costing a touch under £20million.
And while other outfield signings like Marc Guehi and Michael Olise offer exciting potential, having sparkled in the Championship, Danish international Andersen has already shown his quality at Premier League level.
There weren’t many players who could walk away from Fulham’s relegation from the top flight and be able to claim that their stock had risen, but that certainly applied to the Lyon defender.
And once Andersen was over ankle ligament damage he played every minute for the Whites in the league from the start of November – barring a dismissal at Newcastle which was later overturned – until the penultimate fixture of the season at Manchester United.
It was a measure of his stature that in his fourth game for Fulham, a 2-1 win at Leicester City, he was handed the captaincy.
Andersen added class and composure to Scott Parker’s backline.
The indications are that new Palace boss Patrick Vieira wants to play out from the back and that will become a whole lot smoother to execute after the Eagles’ made their fourth acquisition of what is looking an impressive rebuilding job.
Andersen was the best outlet for Fulham in terms of sparking attacks from deep, regularly spraying a diagonal pass from right to left and releasing Ademola Lookman.
The thought of the Danish international producing the same kind of perceptive pick outs to get Wilfried Zaha or Eberechi Eze motoring should be a salivating proposition for supporters.
Andersen’s season only finished on July 7 after his country were knocked out of the European Championships by England.
He came on in the defeat to the Three Lions and also had late substitute appearances against the Czech Republic and Wales.
While Palace did not announce the fee, Lyon seemed to have no such reluctance on their official website – claiming it is just under £15m with further incentives of £2.1m and a 12.5 per cent sell on.
Fulham paid £1m last season with an option to buy.
But as soon as their hopes of retaining top-flight status were over, so too was any notion of keeping Andersen or PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.
“The management of the club and Patrick Vieira have given me very strong assurance that they know my qualities, they believe in me and want me to play an important role in the team,” said Andersen, who also made 39 appearances in Serie A for Sampdoria.
“I have a very positive impression of Patrick from the conversations I have had with him, and I have heard nothing but great things about the manager, the club and its plans for the future.”
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