With the signing of the 17 year old Belgian winger Jason Lokilo, Crystal Palace are looking to build their squad for the future. The teenage star had previously been on trial training with the Eagles U-21 and U-18 teams since this summer.
At the moment Crystal Palace have a plethora of attacking midfielders that have been utilized out wide as wingers. With Jason Puncheon (29) and Bakary Sako (27) nearing their 30’s, there will be room for Lokilo in the coming years while also being able to provide some mentoring for him in the meantime. Players like Yannick Bolasie (26) and Wilfried Zaha (22) are still young enough to retain their place for many years, but will also provide incentive for the young Lokilo to push hard for a place in the senior team.
With Alan Pardew rejuvenating this team with an attacking 4-2-3-1 setup, players like Lokilo should be able to thrive, provided Pardew remains in charge for the next several years.
The Belgian’s utility on either side of the pitch should also suit Pardew’s appreciation of versatile players. In Lokilo’s opening comments on the CPFC website he noted, that he is a right winger, but he can play anywhere and he loves to pass the ball and get assists.
With sponsorships, like Mansion Group-a global online gambling business, who owns a few online casinos such as Mansion Casino Australia, Crystal Palace have found a way to bolster their squad and bring in young players to develop their youth system. Adding a player with the versatility of Lokilo is always going to be a major boost for any team.
With all of that said, there is still the fact that he is just 17 years old. The fact that Padew has brought him in to the team means quite a bit considering Pardew’s background with Southampton, a team well known for developing youth players and bringing them through.
At 17 he has plenty of time to grow, but he is still untested and there is very little known about him outside of those who have scouted him, although he was a player tracked by Arsenal at one point.
Whether he is able to come good at Crystal Palace or not is still to be decided, but he will have time to develop even if he isn’t ready for first team football for a few more years.