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HomeSportsFootballPremier League club Crystal Palace has secured Real Betis center-back Chadi Riad

Premier League club Crystal Palace has secured Real Betis center-back Chadi Riad

Premier League club Crystal Palace has secured Real Betis center-back Chadi Riad from Barcelona, as Palace began their recruiting operations early ahead of the summer transfer window following the impressive conclusion to their league campaign by finishing in 10th place under new manager Oliver Glasner.

According to reports, the Eagles are set to pay La Liga side FC Barcelona a total sum of £14 million, including add-ons, to secure the services of the 20-year-old defender, who has agreed to move to London on a reportedly five-year term until 2029 with the Eagles and has already completed his medical. The transfer was officially announced on June 14, 2024.

This 2023–24 season, the Moroccan international had a fruitful loan stint at Real Betis after joining the club last summer on a season-long deal with an option to sign him permanently. It was previously rumored that he would return to his parent club, Barcelona. However, the Premier League outfit, Crystal Palace, has managed to rope in the young and highly-rated prospect to bolster their defensive ranks and prepare early for the next season.

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Who is Chadi Riad? – Player Profile

Age: 20 years old.
Club: Real Betis.
Foot: Left.
Position: Centre-back.
Nationality: Morrocan.
Market Value: £6 million.
Height: 6’2”ft.

Chadi Riad Dnanou was born on the Spanish island of Palma de Mallorca on June 17, 2003. He is a promising young center-back who began his career with the RCD Mallorca Academy. In 2019, Barcelona came calling, signing the teenager to a three-year deal with the Catalan side. Although he had also attracted interest from another La Liga club, Villarreal CF, he ended up joining Barcelona. He played one season in the club’s youth setup before moving on loan to the CE Sabadell Youth team for the 2020–21 campaign, where his impressive skills earned him opportunities to play for their senior team as well.

Next season, he returned to La Masia and quickly established himself as one of the best center-backs in the Barca Atletic squad. Chadi emerged as a pivotal player, making 37 appearances, scoring three goals, and clocking 3,021 minutes under the mentorship of Barca Atletic coach Rafael Márquez. In November 2022, Riad’s eye-catching campaign paid off when he debuted for Barcelona’s senior team against Osasuna during the club’s league-winning 2022–23 season.

Despite being born in the Balearic Islands, Spain, Chadi Riad has opted to represent Morocco internationally due to his heritage. He has played for Morocco across all youth levels and was part of the Morocco U23 team that won the African Cup of Nations last year. Recently, the Real Betis defender received his first-ever senior team call-up in January of this year and has already earned two senior caps for the Atlas Lions.

Riad’s time on loan with Real Betis

Last summer, the Moroccan international joined Real Betis on loan, seeking regular minutes in La Liga after uncertainty over his chances of getting first-team opportunities under Xavi Hernandez’s management at Barca. Despite lacking experience in top-flight football, the 20-year-old made the most of his opportunity at Betis. Chadi Riad swiftly secured a starting place in the Seville-based club, helping them finish in seventh place and secure a UEFA Europa League berth.

The Blaugrana loanee’s scintillating performance has garnered significant interest following his successful campaign, as he made 30 appearances for Real Betis in all competitions and started 26 games this season. He was rock solid in the defensive backline under Manuel Pellegrini, winning the trust of the manager and securing his place as a starter, amassing 2,493 minutes of game time. Real Betis kept four clean sheets when Riad was operating on the backline.

Additionally, Chadi Riad has been one of the best center-backs in La Liga this season, remaining a challenge for attackers to get past him with merely 0.4 successful dribbles per 90 minutes. He won 67 aerial duels and 77 tackles throughout the entire season, averaging 4.2 recoveries and 4 clearances per game, along with 1.3 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per game. Thus, he has proven his capability of playing in any of the top five European leagues.

What can Chadi Riad’s bring to the table at Selhurst Park?

After a much-improved performance at the end of the season, Palace could see their England center-backs Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen leave following transfer speculation this summer. While James Tomkins is set to depart, Also, Nathaniel Clyne has slotted into the center-back role. Thus, the Eagles are in desperate need of a traditional center-back to cope with the potential outgoings and add more depth to their defensive options.

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Chadi Riad would be the ideal fit for Crystal Palace in defense under Oliver Glasner, who ideally prefers to have three center-backs. Riad is a towering 6’2” defender, making him excellent in aerial duels. Although Riad is left-footed and can comfortably use both feet, Moreover, he combines great physicality, agility, and acceleration. He is also a sharp tackler and interceptor who doesn’t shy away from making timely interceptions.

The 20-year-old defender uses his pace to counter the opposition’s quick attacks and is equally proficient in build-up play and ball distribution from the back, with a strong sense of space awareness. However, the only factor he needs to improve is his long-ball accuracy to become a complete modern-day center-back phenomenon. At Selhurst Park, Chadi can thrive under Glasner and in a system where the Austrian manager can bring out the best in the Barcelona Academy’s promising graduate.

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