Crystal Palace close on transfer for Real Betis defender Chadi Riad


Crystal Palace are close to signing Real Betis defender Chadi Riad.

Riad, 20, would become Palace’s first signing of the summer as they start their transfer business early. The deal is expected to be worth €18million (£15.4m) and his arrival would bolster Palace’s defensive options.

He made 26 appearances last season as Betis finished seventh in La Liga, having joined from Barcelona last summer for €3.4m.

The centre-back has two international caps for Morocco, making his debut in a 3-1 friendly win over Sierra Leone in January, before starting in their goalless draw with Mauritania in March.

Riad fits with Palace’s philosophy of signing young players with room for improvement and who could potentially be sold on for a profit in future.

Palace will be conscious that they could lose Marc Guehi this summer, with the 23-year-old having long-standing interest from elsewhere and with his contract expiring in 2026.

Guehi could move on from Crystal Palace this summer (Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Guehi could move on from Crystal Palace this summer (Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

This signing is unlikely to be a direct replacement for Guehi, who missed a significant chunk of the second half of this season through injury, should he leave. Instead it is likely to be focused more on adding strength in depth to a squad hit by injuries this season.

With James Tomkins’ release at the end of his contract this summer, Palace need another centre-back, particularly given manager Oliver Glasner’s preference to play three at the back.

Nathaniel Clyne operated as the right sided centre-back in Palace’s defence for the final seven games of the season. The 33-year-old is out of contract this summer and has yet to agree terms on a new deal.

Joel Ward, who also played that same role under Glasner, has signed a one-year contract extension.

(Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

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