Forget Carlton Cole: the strikers Crystal Palace could target to fill Benteke gap

first_imgShare on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Crystal Palace’s search for a striker to fill the Christian Benteke-shaped hole created by the Belgium international’s untimely knee injury has reportedly led Roy Hodgson to “step up his attempts to land free-agent Carlton Cole”, according to reports on Thursday.Like Hodgson, the 33-year-old former Chelsea and West Ham frontman hails from Croydon and has been without a club since being released by the Indonesian side Persib Bandung last month. The only problem might be that Cole not only failed to score a single goal in 268 minutes of action and his influence was dismissed by the club’s manager as “like playing with 10 men”. Christian Benteke Share on Messenger So if Cole is not the answer, who else might Hodgson turn to with Benteke expected to be missing for at least six weeks and normal back-up option Connor Wickham also recovering from injury? Sadly, the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rachid Ghezzal have already been snapped up from the free agents XI put together by my colleague Nick Miller at the end of June, with only the former Sunderland man mountain defender/midfielder Jan Kirchhoff and the Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari – who Fifa ordered Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad must pay $5m this week after a protracted contract dispute – still without a club.Fear not, though, Palace fans, as a brief glance through the free agents list reveals there are several contenders who could potentially fill the void, although Marouane Chamakh may not be the answer this time after being out of work since he was released by Cardiff last December after making only two appearances. One of those was as a substitute for the former England striker Rickie Lambert, who was released by Cardiff in June and would appear the most sensible option given that he has actually found the net within the past 12 months and was part of Hodgson’s 2014 World Cup squad.But if he fancies something a bit more continental, the Dutchman Ruud Boymans may be an option. The 28-year-old scored 10 goals in 19 Eredivisie appearances for Utrecht in 2016‑17 before signing for Dubai’s Al Shabab last summer and quickly falling out of favour. Alternatively, the former Chelsea and Bayern Munich striker Claudio Pizarro may be 38 but would bring some much-needed experience to the Eagles’ attack.Leon Best, Dexter Blackstock, Jérémie Aliadière and Ishmael Miller are some of the other options who have perhaps seen better days. And then there’s Michel Platini – no, not that one. Michel Platini Ferreira Mesquita, a Brazilian striker who holds the distinction of being the second highest foreign goalscorer in the history of the Bulgarian top flight, was last seen in action for Anápolis in his homeland last season, when he managed no goals from four substitute appearances.With Palace yet to find the net in their six Premier League fixtures so far this season, they will need all the help they can get. Share on Pinterest Share via Email Share on Facebook Reuse this content Read more Crystal Palace Football transfer rumours: Free agent Carlton Cole to join Crystal Palace? blogposts Topics Roy Hodgson Share on WhatsApplast_img

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