Crystal Palace have signed Serbian midfielder Luka Milivojevic from Greek side Olympiacos.
The former Anderlecht man signs for the Eagles from the Greek champions for a fee believed to be around £12 million.
The South Londoners have lacked a physical presence in midfield since the departure of former club captain, Mile Jedinak. The Eagles have often had to settle with the more technical midfield trio of Jason Puncheon, Yohan Cabaye and James McArthur and this has led to them struggling against the more physical sides.
Former Arsenal and AC Milan midfielder, Mathieu Flamini, was signed on a free transfer to fill Jedinak’s void. However, the Frenchman, while seeming classy, has struggled for fitness.
Milivojevic will fill a void that has ultimately cost Palace points this season, while also adding the leadership qualities that have also been missing in the Eagles’ squad.
Career so far
The defensive midfielder began his professional career in his home country with Red Star Belgrade. He lasted just two-and-a-half years in the Serbian top-flight before being snapped up by Belgian giants, Anderlecht. The 25-year-old signed a five-year deal with the Purple and Whites in July 2013 but, once again, failed to last long before moving on – joining Olympiacos on loan in September 2014.
Milivojevic was a success in his first season for the club, appearing 30 times in all competitions as Olympiacos won the Greek Super League by nine points.
His performances in his debut season led to Olympiacos securing his signature on a permanent deal in June 2015. The Red-Whites won all 15 home games and only lost once away from home as they stormed to yet another title victory. An amazing 27-point gap separated them between second-place Panathinaikos.
Olympiacos fended off interest from Valencia in the summer of 2016 but could do nothing when Palace came in with a £12m bid six months later.
Eagles boss Sam Allardyce said he “cannot wait” to work with the Serbian international.