Crystal Palace complete capture of England cap Martin Kelly
Crystal Palace, 9/2 chances with Coral to finish in the top 10, have signed Liverpool defender and England cap Martin Kelly on a three-year deal, following the raft of defensive signings made at Anfield this summer.
Kelly, 24, has fallen down the pecking order on Merseyside, following the loan signing of highly-rated Atletico Madrid full back Javier Manquillo. Reds boss Brendan Rodgers’ imminent capture of another Spaniard, Alberto Moreno, creates even more competition for places on the flanks of defence.
A late call-up for Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad, Kelly has seen his career stall at Anfield because of the emergence of fellow Reds academy product Jon Flanagan. His move to Selhurst Park, for a reported initial fee of £1.5m (that could rise to £2m) is now close to completion.
Eagles boss Tony Pulis, who has reportedly become frustrated by the lack of transfer activity at the capital club this summer, is short at right back. Kelly will likely get regular football in his natural position.
Joel Ward, who can operate there, spent the back end of last season on the other flank or in a holding midfield role, leaving natural centre half Adrian Mariappa to deputise. Jack Hunt, meanwhile, has been loaned out to Championship club Nottingham Forest as he continues his recovery from a broken ankle. Palace have the versatile Peter Ramage on their books too.
Pulis, who is the 6/4 favourite in the next Premier League manager to go market, has also been consistently linked with bringing defensive midfield player Steven N’Zonzi to south London from former club Stoke City. Reports surfaced last term that the Frenchman was unhappy at the Potters under Mark Hughes, and that he submitted a transfer request.
N’Zonzi would create competition for Eagles and Australia national captain Mile Jedinak and Algeria international Adlene Guedioura in this position. Other midfield options presently open to Pulis are Barry Bannan, Owen Garvan, Stuart O’Keefe and Wales pair Joe Ledley and Jonathan Williams. Palace are 12/5 third-favourites to be relegated in their second successive top-flight season.