The big-money Liverpool and Crystal Palace swap deal that would solve big problems for both sides

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Liverpool have a problem in defence, while Crystal Palace could lose one of their best players - but could the two sides help each other out?

Crystal Palace are in an intriguing and, from the perspective of their fans, slightly concerning spot. On the one hand, they have several brilliant young players who could represent a core of immense quality that could drive the club forward over the coming years. On the other, glaring gaps in the squad, especially up front, have still not been addressed successfully and results are going backwards. Even assuming they remain in the Premier League, it will only be so long until players like Michael Olise stop signing new contracts and seek new pastures.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have very different problems – theirs are more first world in nature, for starters. They are top of the table and flying high, but know they are approaching a period of transition. Jürgen Klopp is leaving and the core of key players that drove them to their Premier League and Champions League titles have either left or are advancing into their thirties. Mohamed Salah may be tempted by the riches of Saudi Arabia once more, and Virgil van Dijk, who turns 33 in the summer, has already told reports that he doesn’t know if he will be a part of the new era.

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The Reds have been scouting around for a centre-half for much of this season, with reports linking them for moves for players like Ousmane Diomande and Levi Colwill in the summer. With Joël Matip likely to leave in the summer as his contract winds down and Van Dijk possibly following – not to mention getting a little longer in the tooth - that would leave Liverpool looking light at the back.

And it would be no surprise to see them revisit the idea of signing Marc Guéhi, which is where Crystal Palace come back into this. The centre-half was tentatively linked with several of the bigger sides in the Premier League this summer, and while a move never materialised it seems increasingly unlikely that Palace will be able to keep a hold of the England international defender forever.

His current contract has another two years to run, and expires in the summer of 2026, and Palace will likely either want to extend his deal this summer or start the wheels in motion when it comes to selling it – after all, his value will depreciate as he enters the last year or so of his deal, so this coming summer could represent their last chance to get top dollar for one of their biggest talents.

At 22, Guéhi has already demonstrated just about every quality that Liverpool have tended to look for in their defenders so far – he’s comfortable with the ball at his feet, confident in his passing and control, more than quick enough to cover ground at pace to snuff out counter-attacks and reads the game like a book. When he marks someone, they are often simply shut out of the game, and when he presses he tends to take the best passing and shooting angles out of the equation. He is an immense talent, and could be the kind of defender that would be a star at Liverpool for a decade to come.

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Of course, such a move would leave Palace looking for a replacement – someone who can offer the same kind of physical and ball-playing qualities and who has the experience and grasp of the game to keep things steady at the back. And one wonders whether Joe Gomez might be the kind of player they were looking for.

Gomez is now Liverpool’s longest-serving player, but his status at Anfield is somewhat strange. His versatility means he has played an important role in the squad as a depth piece, but it is plain that he isn’t seen as a starter. At centre-half, the likes of Van Dijk and Ibrahima Konaté are preferred, while Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have the full-back spots on lockdown. Gomez, therefore, fills in when needed to cover for injuries or for cup games when the regulars need a rest.

Which somewhat undersells his capabilities. Like Guéhi, he is exceptionally confident with the ball at his feet and is a better ball-carrier, an important quality for a possession-based system, and like Guéhi he is fast and strong enough to cover gaps left in behind. The downside is that while Guéhi seems to occupy precisely the right position a startling percentage of the time, Gomez has a tendency to get caught on the wrong side of his man – although he does, at least, have extremely good judgement in the tackle to fall back on when he gets it wrong.

Palace tend to play with a deeper defence compared to Liverpool, which would help to cover for Gomez’s deficiencies, and he would be one of the first names on the team sheet at Selhurst Park. And nor would Palace’s wage structure necessarily prove a problem – Gomez’s wages at Anfield are only slightly higher than the £100,000 per week paid to Olise and Dean Henderson, the top earners.

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He has a long contract, and could easily remain at Anfield for years to come as a useful part of the puzzle, but he has been linked with a move away in recent months and one wonders whether he would prefer to be a nailed-on starter elsewhere. Certainly his place in the upcoming new era at Liverpool is not guaranteed.

So perhaps this is a case of two clubs, and two players, who offer the solutions to each others’ problems. Guéhi will surely leave eventually, and he has the kind of playing profile that Liverpool would want. Gomez could be a star at Palace, and would offer Palace a way to turn a profit on one of their best young players without finding themselves scrambling for a replacement. Either way, the future of both Guéhi and Liverpool’s defence are up in the air for the next couple of years, and it will be interesting to see how things change. They certainly won’t stay the same.

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