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Crystal Palace midfielder linked with Champions League transfer as contract talks go on

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Crystal Palace midfielder Cheikhou Kouayte is rumoured to be a transfer target for Turkish champions Trabzonspor.

The Eagles midfielder, 32, will see his contract at Selhurst Park expire before the start of the 2022/23 campaign though he has reportedly been in talks with the club to extend his stay in south London. Kouyate made 31 appearances for Palace last season, regularly featuring for Patrick Vieira in the defensive midfield role.

His physicality and experience as a senior member of the dressing room have been vital during the club’s recent rebuild, though his reputation within the Palace fanbase took a hit following his public backing of Idrissa Gueye in May. Kouyate shared a message of support with his Senegal teammate after the PSG star had reportedly refused to play a game for the Parisians due to a rainbow-coloured kit.

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Despite that incident, which Vieira said he would speak to the midfielder about, Kouyate is still seen as an important member of the Palace team while his most recent campaign shows he still has lots to offer to the Eagles. With club captain Luka Milivojevic further down the pecking order and linked with a move away from the club, keeping Kouyate for at least another year would represent good business.

Speaking in March about what the midfielder brings to the team, Vieira said: “He gives you the balance. He wins so many balls, can stop the counter-attack and bring physicality. He’s the one to win the ball and his first pass is always good. He has the physical presence we want in the Premier League – the competitiveness and physicality – and his experience is what we need.”

The recently-crowned AFCON winner is free to talk to other clubs if he chooses though, with Turkish outlet Fanatik reporting that Trabzonspor are keeping ‘close tabs’ on the Senegal international. The club recently won the Super Lig title for the first time in 38 years, meaning they’ll be immediately entered into the group stages for next season’s Champions League.

Were Kouyate to leave it would likely mean Palace’s pursuit of Lens midfielder Cheick Doucoure steps up even more, with the Mali international reportedly the club’s number one target this summer. The 22-year-old is also of interest to Arsenal and Everton among other Premier League sides, though Vieira is said to be personally intent on bringing him to south London.

The Eagles are also chasing several other signings, with Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Chelsea’s Levi Colwill both said to be on Palace’s list of potential recruits ahead of the new campaign.

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https://www.football.london/crystal-palace-fc/transfer-news/crystal-palace-champions-league-transfer-24104266