Eberechi Eze's Performance Against Tottenham Was No One-Off - He's Been Brilliant All Season

Max Parsons
Eberechi Eze- at home in the Premier League
Eberechi Eze- at home in the Premier League / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

Over 2,000 university students' tuition fees for a year, the annual salaries of about 250 MPs or the upkeep of the monarchy for around three and a half months. Those are three things that £20m could get you if you wanted.

However, when you look at the likes of Harry Maguire moving to Manchester United for £80m, Eden Hazard relocating to Real Madrid for around £100m and Nicolas Pepe sealing a £72m move to the Emirates in the last two years, it's quite clear that £20m doesn't stretch very far in today's football transfer market.

But Crystal Palace and Roy Hodgson would disagree, having picked up one of the signings of the summer for just that amount - including add-ons - in Eberechi Eze.

The Eagles announced the acquisition of the winger for a reported £16m, potentially rising to £20m, and so far the former QPR man has looked well worth every penny. The 22-year old has had various impacts on the Palace team and one of the most crucial is that his introduction has allowed Wilfried Zaha to occupy central positions.

Zaha, up to this point in his career, has predominantly played off the left side of midfield or attack where he has failed to exploit the full extent of his quality and creativity.

Last season the Ivory Coast international didn't enjoy the best of campaigns and failed to shine in the league. Zaha racked up just four goals and three assists, having featured in all 38 Premier League games of the season, starting 37.

By comparison, the Palace favourite has enjoyed a much better and more prolific start to this campaign. He has scored seven and assisted two in just ten matches so far - visibly thriving as a second striker in central areas of the pitch, while Eze plays on the left flank.

Zaha and Eze have formed a prolific partnership already this season
Zaha and Eze have formed a prolific partnership already this season / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

In addition to the creative license afforded to Zaha, the introduction of Eze has injected a different dimension to Hodgson's side when going forward, seeming to glide effortlessly around the pitch as the ball travels with him, rather than he travelling with the ball. The 22-year old already proved his quality at Loftus Road in the Championship, scoring 14 and assisting eight for QPR last season.

The England Under-21 international has shown no hesitation in stepping up to the mark at the highest level after his move, already proving a success at Selhurst Park. Eze has three Premier League goal contributions so far this season and has consistently been a threat for his side.

He was once again well and truly in the thick of the action against Tottenham on Sunday, providing an attacking impetus down the left and taking the set piece that led to Palace's equaliser. He was unlucky not to get his second Premier League goal as he hit the foot of a relieved Hugo Lloris' post.

This followed a mesmerising display away at West Brom the week before. In a record breaking win for Palace - they scored five away goals in a top-flight match for the first time in their history - Eze was a star. He was a danger to the Baggies' back line for 90 minutes straight and provided an assist for Zaha to add to this sublime free kick he previously bagged against Leeds.

The winger's signing has given Hodgson an impressive depth in offensive options. Their substitute bench against Spurs included Jordan Ayew, Andros Townsend and Michy Batshuayi.

The boost in numbers for the Eagles has visibly had an impact. As they are playing much more fluid, entertaining and quicker football than last year, Hodgson's men are taking games to their opposition and maintaining their style of play for whole matches, shown by the thumping defeat inflicted on West Brom. The difference is they're a place, two points and eight goals better off than this stage last season.

While squad depth was an issue last campaign, the signing of Eze has ensured that Hodgson has options in that area of the pitch. However, it doesn't look like those options will be taking the 22-year-old's place in the first XI any time soon, as current form makes him a guaranteed feature in the lineup.

Eze has become somewhat of an indispensable cog in Hodgson's machine, and certainly isn't out of place in the 'signing of the summer' conversation.

He and Zaha have a blossoming partnership that looks deadly when driving forwards and has no doubt reinvigorated the Palace side, providing a creativity and spark that has injected life onto the pitch.

There's no wonder the Palace faithful is bustling with excitement and optimism, having seen their club undeniably use £20m to brilliant effect.

facebooktwitterreddit