Crystal Palace and West Ham United are involved in a two-way race to sign Marseille centre-back Duje Caleta-Car.
According to Le10Sport, both Crystal Palace and West Ham United have made respective contract offers to Marseille centre-back Duje Caleta-Car, but the Croatian international is yet to decide on his future. The 25-year-old has just a year remaining on his deal with the Ligue 1 club.
Caleta-Car joined Marseille in the 2018 summer transfer window from RB Salzburg and immediately became the French club’s first-choice central defender. He has since made a total of 129 appearances for them across competitions.
The defender was close to joining Liverpool in the 2021 winter window, by his own admission, but Marseille president Pablo Longoria pulled the plug on the move at the last minute. Jurgen Klopp’s side signed Ben Davies from Preston and Ozan Kabak from Schalke instead.
Caleta-Car is once again attracting interest from the Premier League with both Crystal Palace and West Ham United stepping up their pursuit of the defender. Both clubs have made their contract offer to the defender, and it is now up to the player to make a decision.
David Moyes has been looking to add depth to the defensive department since the January window, but to no avail. They were in the market for Caleta-Car back then as well, but Marseille blocked any potential move. However, with Issa Diop likely to be sold and Angelo Ogbonna’s age and injury problems, a new defender is a key area for West Ham United to strengthen, with Caleta-Car emerging as an option.
Crystal Palace, too, have shown an interest in Caleta-Car. The Eagles have Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi as their first-choice centre-back pairing but lack quality beyond them. Martin Kelly is departing as a free agent, leaving James Tomkins as the only backup option. So, Patrick Vieira’s side are in the market for a new centre-back and have made a contract proposal for Caleta-Car.
With just one year left on his deal, Marseille might want to part ways with Caleta-Car this summer, but as per the aforementioned report, the Croatian is eager to run down his contract and leave next year on a free transfer. He will also get the opportunity to play in the Champions League with Marseille, something the two interested English clubs cannot provide.
Caleta-Car’s stance to see off his contract may not please club president Longoria, however, as he isn’t ready to put pen to paper on a new deal. While a move to England excites the defender, his family are well-settled in Marseille, which could affect his final decision.