The transfer saga surrounding the resurgent Crystal Palace outcast Alexander Sørloth appears to be close to an end, with major suitors RB Leipzig having agreed a deal with both Crystal Palace and Turkish club Trabzonspor.
According to The Athletic, Trabzonspor and Palace have agreed a fee rising to around £22 million with the nascent German giants, with additional bonuses included in the deal. The proceeds of the deal will be split evenly between the parent club and Trabzonspor, who retained an option to buy the striker if he played 50% of the current season’s fixtures for Trabzonspor.
According to a separate report by Sky Sports [Transfer Centre, 17/09/2020, 10:35am], this amounts to just £7 million as an initial sum for Palace – but this could rise substantially when bonuses are included.
Sørloth was viewed by head coach Julien Nagelsmann as a direct replacement for Timo Werner, who joined Palace’s London neighbours Chelsea ahead of the 2020/21 summer transfer window.
Leipzig have already brought in Hwang Hee-chan from associated club RB Salzburg in Austria, but Sørloth appears to be the primary frontman to replace their former talisman.
Despite late interest from Tottenham Hotspur, Sørloth is expected to formalise and complete the deal with Leipzig over the coming weekend after failing to return to Turkey after the international break.
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Given the manner of the complexities of the two-year deal in which Sørloth was loaned out to Trabzonspor, for Palace to yield a minor profit from the deal is a positive result for the club.
The striker failed to live up to his potential in SE25, managing just one goal throughout his Crystal Palace career. The £8.1 million signing from FC Midtjylland seemed unlikely to ignite a career in top-flight European football, but heads were soon turned after an unforeseen upturn in form.
In spite of his lacklustre career in English football, Sørloth’s two-year loan deal to Turkish giants Trabzonspor saw 39 appearances, 24 goals, 9 assists and a Turkish Cup victory to his name. The 6’4 Norwegian giant appears to have reignited his career and looks set to join a true heavyweight of German football.
Palace appear to have largely circumnavigated the risk of losing out on their own asset. Both fans of the Eagles and the Palace board alike have good reason to be satisfied in spite of Trabzonspor’s favourable outcome.
Trabzonspor could certainly leverage their buy-out clause and the lack of a recall option inserted by Palace – but Roy Hodgson’s side does not appear to have suffered substantially from the deal as a consequence.
With Palace in talks with Brentford winger Said Benrahma’s representatives over the viability of a deal, the funds generated from the sale of an unwanted striker and the savings from the club’s wage bill could prove vital.
As the Eagles continue to pursue a key target as the Eagles look to rejuvenate their squad over the summer transfer window, Sørloth’s sale may have incidentally spun the cogs of a structural revolution in south London.