Crystal Palace have registered an interest in signing £12m rated Marseille right back Hiroki Sakai as a means of bolstering their leaky defence.
The Eagles had been keen on signing Fulham right back Ryan Fredericks however, the 25-year-old Englishman has since joined Palace's Premier League rivals West Ham United, leaving the Selhurst Park based club to pursue other targets.
Subsequently, Marseille's Japanese defender Sakai has been identified as a potential candidate for the right back role at Selhurst Park, with it being believed that the Ligue 1 side would be willing to sanction the 28-year-old's departure this summer. He has currently three years remaining on his current deal at the Stade Velodrome, as reported by the Evening Standard.
According to reports, Sakai has also attracted interest from a host of other top clubs, including Premier League duo. Brighton and Hove Albion and Leicester City, although they have taken issue with Marseille's valuation of the Japanese defender.
And despite there being interest emanating from Serie A, it is believed that Sakai's preferential destination would be the Premier League, subsequently leaving Crystal Palace firmly at the head of the race to sign the 28-year-old defender.
Furthermore, Sakai's wage demands would pose no problem for Palace, whose top stars earn double the Japan international's current amount.
Sakai finished the 2017/18 season with Marseille in strong fashion, having made 50 appearances across all competitions for Les Phocéens as they finished fourth in Ligue 1.