Crystal Palace set sights on Sierra Leone international

Ian Holloway’s Crystal Palace have been today linked with 25 year old Sierra Leone international defender Umaru Bangura.

Bangura’s contract with Norwegian side FK Haugesund is due to expire this year and this coupled with a string of impressive displays has alerted The Eagles to his services.  With not long to run on his contract a reasonable valuation would suit the South London side.

However it has been reported that an initial bid has been rejected by Haugesund, something that is said to have disappointed the player who said: “I’m ready for {a} new challenge, and the Premier League is a great opportunity for me and Crystal Palace want me now.

“I only have a few months left on my contract before I can go for free, so the choice should not be that difficult.”

Bangura does have a tenuous link to English football.  After the 2005 Under 17 World Cup, the midfielder caught the attention of Watford; however because he was unable to secure a work permit, the Hertfordshire club had no option but to send him on loan to another Norwegian side, Honefoss.

Bangura began his career with Sierra Leonean side Mighty Blackpool before he signed for Watford.  After the aforementioned loan deal to Honefoss ended {he was still technically a Watford player for the duration of this move} he then moved to fellow Tippeligaen side Haugesund.

The Freetown born player has played 18 times for his country since his debut in 2006 in a qualifying game for the African Cup of Nations against Togo.  The platform for his elevation to the senior side was his impressive performances for Sierra Leone in the 2003 Fifa Under 17 World Cup.

Bangura is a regular starter in midfield now for his country and a move to the Premier League from Norway with The Eagles would only heighten the players profile.

Holloway has been busy since the opening of the transfer window with the signatures of Dwight Gayle and Stephen Dobbie and the signature of Bangura would add some steel to the Palace midfield with Banguras defensive abilities potential linking up well with the likes of Republic of Ireland international Owen Garvan.

The deal might not be set in stone just yet but with such a short amount of time remaining on the players contract, it would be hard to see Palace and Holloway not getting their man in this case.


Brian is a sports journalist with over 5 years experience of writing on all things soccer. Resides in Dublin, Ireland.