Crystal Palace and Sunderland to battle for Brann star Badji
Both Crystal Palace and Sunderland (11/5 with Coral to be relegated), who are hovering dangerously above the drop zone, are said to be keen to recruit Senegal midfielder Stephane Badji.
It is believed Badji, who is currently plying his trade for Brann in the Tippeligaen, has a buyout clause of just £600k. At such a snip, both clubs will be hoping the powerful box-to-box star could become a bargain buy.
Despite his physical presence, pace and workrate, the adaptable Senegal star is also renowned for his versatility and ability to instigate counter attacks.
Able to play in his favoured central role, but also as an anchor or on the right of midfield, robust Badji could bring dynamism to the struggling Eagles and Black Cats.
Scouts from both Premier League clubs are reported to have run the rule over their 11-capped top target as Senegal took on Egypt over the international break, and were apparently impressed by his contribution to his country’s 1-0 win.
Sought-after Badji is still just 24, and has made 52 appearances across all competitions for Bergen-based side Brann, after beginning his career with Norwegian minnows Sogndal.
The step up from toiling in Norway’s top tier to being thrust into the Premier League limelight would undoubtedly be testing but, if Palace or Sunderland decide to trigger Badji’s release clause, the move would still be relatively low-risk.
Gus Poyet’s boys could certainly do with added mettle in their midfield, as well as competition and cover for the likes of Lee Catermole, Liam Bridcutt and Jack Rodwell, with the latter two failing to impress at the Stadium of Light.
Neil Warnock, meanwhile, does boast Wales grafter Joe Ledley, former Wigan Athletic man James McArthur, and skipper Mile Jedinak in his squad, but all are experienced and adaptable.
The Eagles, 13/10 to be relegated, will be aware that acquiring depth, quality and exuberance in the winter window could be just the injection Warnock’s side needs to stay afloat this season, with Badji seemingly fitting the bill.
Neither club had a sensational summer in the transfer market, and both could now clash in the competition to secure cut-price Badji’s services.