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Sport Crystal Palace set to test Bristol City's transfer resolve with £12m bid for Antoine Semenyo

12:10  15 august  2022
12:10  15 august  2022 Source:   bristolpost.co.uk

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Bristol City are bracing themselves for late interest in the transfer window for striker Antoine Semenyo, as Bristol Live understands that Crystal Palace are readying a bid in the region of £12million for the Ghana international.

As first reported by The Sun on Sunday, Palace are turning to the 22-year-old after letting Christian Benteke leave to sign for DC United, and the situation could accelerate in the coming days.

Sporting director Dougie Freedman has been monitoring Semenyo’s progress for several years, and the forward’s breakout campaign last term, in which he scored eight goals and recorded 12 assists, has convinced the Eagles he can make the step up to the Premier League. Scouts have also been impressed with Semenyo’s technical skills and obvious physical attributes plus his pressing ability, lending himself to the top-flight game.

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On Freedman’s watch, Palace have consistently bought from within the Championship with Ebere Eze, Michael Olise and Will Hughes notable arrivals, while Marc Guehi was signed from Chelsea in the wake of his outstanding loan campaign at Swansea City.

Should, as expected, the Eagles make an official approach this week it puts City in an interesting position. The Robins turned down a bid from Nottingham Forest in January that fell well below their £20m valuation.

Semenyo’s contract expires next summer, having joined the club’s academy from SGS College in 2018, but the Robins do hold a 12-month option which has curiously not yet been exercised as he enters the final year of his agreement.

The forward is yet to play this season having sustained a shin injury in June while on international duty but is approaching a first-team return, ahead of his original mid-September schedule, which has left City vulnerable to the possibility of a club making an approach.

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While Nigel Pearson will be loathed to lose such a key attacking player, who significantly improved the Robins when he returned to the starting XI in December last year, a substantial sale would help the manager two-fold.

Firstly, it helps avert the possibility of a points deduction stemming from City not being able to meet their obligations around the EFL’s Profit & Sustainability regulations, as their £38.4m losses from 2020/21 have left them close to the threshold.

But it also would equip Pearson with some financial resources in the final two weeks of the transfer window as although City have made four signings this summer, the most recent was goalkeeper Stefan Bajic in the first week of July, and there are clear gaps in his squad and there has been some internal frustration at the lack of movement.

With the free agent pool all-but exhausted and City still waiting on top-flight clubs to make decisions on various loan targets, plus the manager’s continued reticence over that particular avenue, the only way he can start to form the sort of squad he wants is through the process of trading, something he indicated earlier this month.

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Speaking last week, owner Steve Lansdown also indicated that a significant amount of money into the club would lead to reinvestment in the squad. "We don't need to sell them (Semenyo or Alex Scott) and we don't want to sell them," Lansdown told BBC Radio Bristol. "So like all these things you have to make offers to make you change your mind because that money can be reinvested to bolster the rest of the squad.

"We did it with Adam Webster, we didn't want him to go but he was adamant he wanted to so we put a price-tag on him that gave us a good return on him. That's business."

The question for City will be, of course, what constitutes the best value for Semenyo that fulfils both of the above criteria of boosting the balance sheet but not having an overly detrimental effect on the team this season, which is inevitable unless he is replaced. Time is also a consideration given there are 18 days of the summer window remaining and if a player is to be sold to raise revenue, the sooner it happens to allow for reinforcements, the better.

But City are also mindful that Palace are not the only Premier League team keen on Semenyo, with Brighton & Hove Albion and Bournemouth, in particular, keeping an eye on developments. The Mail also report that Everton could be in the market should Anthony Gordon be sold to Chelsea, with Frank Lampard lacking in forward options.

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  Crystal Palace set to make transfer approach for Bristol City striker Nottingham Forest wanted Crystal Palace are looking to strengthen their options in attack following Christian Benteke's exit with Bristol City striker Antoine Semenyo firmly on their radar Footall.london understands the Eagles are set to put forward a bid for the 22-year-old who recorded eight goals and 12 assists in 31 Championship games last season. The Sun on Sunday reports that the Ghana international could cost around £12million.

The hope will therefore be that Palace spark a bidding war to drive up his value, much like what occurred with Webster in the summer of 2019 as the defender moved to Brighton for a club record £20m. Although on that occasion, City paid the price for not replacing an integral member of the squad, as Webster’s sale went through less than a week before the window closed, something they will be keen to avoid this time around should Semenyo’s time in BS3 come to an end.

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