After the first quarter of the Premier League season, Crystal Palace find themselves staring up from the basement of the table. With survival prospects fading, what would it take for Roy Hodgson to save the Eagles in January? Or if relegation looks certain by then, should Palace start planning for the second tier? Let’s consider how they could still save their dire season…
If unreliable rumours are to be believed, Steve Parish is ready to give Hodgson a £40 million war chest to spend in the winter window. As promising as it seems, why on earth did they not just spend the money in the summer? It makes absolutely no sense and surely seems unlikely, despite giving Sam Allardyce a similar budget last January. Let’s say, in this market, we are given £25-30 million to spend. This is what we should hope to get…
ST – Beginning with the obvious, Palace currently have no strikers available for selection besides the inexperienced Freddie Ladapo. Probably the most inexplicable scenario in recent times, a top-flight football club has had to play without a centre forward in the most competitive league in the world. Enough of the moaning, it speaks for itself. Even when Christian Benteke and the injury-prone Connor Wickham return from injury, Palace are playing a risky game in a tricky winter period. At the very minimum, a high-level forward must come in to offer an outlet and something different for the side. If possible, Hodgson would be wishing to recruit a further addition on top of that, too. I’ll leave it to our infamous scouting system to find the right ones. £10 million each? Or one £15-20 million hotshot?
GK – The return of club legend Julian Speroni has steadied the ship in recent games, but in reality, the 38-year old Argentinian is riding off past glory. Undoubtedly a leader and inspiring figure in goal, it would unfairly be asking too much for the miracle worker to save us again. A football club needs three first-team goalkeepers to compete with one another, so it’s not at all surprising that Palace only have two! Wayne Hennessey must never return to goal for the sake of the team’s confidence, but a new goal-saver must now be as big a priority as recruiting a goalscorer at the other end of the pitch. £5-10 million?
RB or CB – As weak as Palace are at right full-back, Fosu-Mensah is learning the game well and just needs confidence to play ahead of the poor Joel Ward. James Tomkins is never fully fit for a run of games and Scott Dann doesn’t seem as convincing as he once was. For Mamadou Sakho’s benefit, it may be useful to find a new centre-back partner if Tomkins or Dann can’t remain consistent. Palace definitely need something new on the right side of that defence, whether RCB or RB. £10 million signing?
CAM – Palace have been crying out for a number ten playmaker for years, ever since Andre Moritz dazzled for us with all Brazilian flair in our promotion-winning season. Hodgson’s side lack somebody who unlock the door and pick out the forwards with perfect precision and class. Yohan Cabaye shows glimpses of acting in this role, but ideally it needs to be somebody more attack-minded? A classy foreigner in the mould of Coutinho, Lanzini, Tadic would be nice. There aren’t obvious candidates around at the moment… I wonder if the scouting network knows what a playmaking midfielder is? We’ll have to wait and see. Here’s hoping… Foreign loan deal or big money move if we raise cash from sales?
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