Who Palace Need To Buy In January

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?

Let us know your thoughts via our social media pages at Selhurst Sound!

 

 

 

Former Hammers Forward Linked With Shock Move To Palace

Crystal Palace are being linked with former West Ham United striker Carlton Cole to fill the remaining spot in their 25-man Premier League squad.

After the ligament damage suffered by Belgian target man Christian Benteke in the 5-0 defeat to Manchester City at the weekend, Palace literally have nobody to turn to in his expected 8-week absence.

 

The Eagles released U23s goalkeeper Kleton Perntreou to free up a vacant position for a free agent to arrive. With Giuseppe Rossi suffering a long-term injury and Cheick Diabate supposedly not being considered, the 7-time England international Cole has become a real option after his release from Indonesian outfit Persib Bandung.

 

Palace were repeatedly linked with Croydon-born Cole during his days at Upton Park before ending his nine-year spell with the Hammers to join Celtic. The former Chelsea academy graduate also had spells in his younger days on loan at Charlton Athletic and Aston Villa. Never a prolific scorer, Cole scored 55 goals for West Ham in 256 league appearances. Fast approaching his 34th birthday, it’s difficult to see what Cole would offer Palace in the ruthless, fast-paced intensity of modern-day Premier League football.

I can’t believe I’m writing this, to be honest with you. I didn’t know Carlton Cole was still around. Incredible.

The Lost Eleven – What Could’ve Been For Frank de Boer

After the Dutch revolution was brutally put down through the sacking of its visionary Frank de Boer, it’s damning to see what could have been had the Dutchman got his own way in the transfer market. For a man who clearly wasn’t backed by the board and left to hang out to dry, let’s have a look at the team he could have formed through the players he wanted to sign.

Michel Vorm – Spurs number two Vorm was linked with Palace towards the end of the window, but you would bet he was on de Boer’s list from the start. After Wayne Hennessey’s dodgy start to the season, the Dutch manager will be ruing not being able to bring in a new keeper instead.

Kenny Tete – Ajax right-back Tete was heavily linked with Palace before he made a move to Champions League outfit Lyon. At around 3 million euros, the Dutch international would have represented great business to replace another poor performer this season in Joel Ward. 

Calum Chambers – Palace reportedly had a £16 million bid rejected by Arsenal for the 22 year-old centre-back in July. With a compromise greatly expected to be reached, the move never materialised before Leicester City had a £20 million bid rejected towards the end of the window. A ball-playing versatile prospect, Chambers would have perfectly suited de Boer’s passing out style of play from the back. 

Bruno Martins Indi – With Stoke City stalling over making his move permanent, Martins Indi became a realistic target for Palace’s Dutch revolution. For a measly £7 million pounds, the FC Porto defender finally rejoined his loan side after a highly successful spell last season. Much like Sakho with Palace, Martins Indi was always going to take some persuading to turn down a return to a place where he was greatly appreciated.

Gregory van der Wiel – Palace’s recruitment for left-backs Jeffrey Schlupp and Patrick van Aanholt in January meant it was no longer an area for strengthening. Along with Pape Souare’s miraculous return, Palace were well-covered. However, another right-back who was strongly linked in the window was 29 year-old Dutch international Gregory van der Wiel. Once again for a very minimal fee, he eventually traded Fenerbahçe for Cagliari after Palace’s interest failed to materialise. 

Timothy Fosu-Mensah – Manchester United youngster Timothy Fosu-Mensah was allowed to join up with de Boer’s men on the eve of the new season. Expected to play at right-back due to his pace and power, de Boer instead played his former Ajax trainee at centre-back in a back three. However, with a shift in formation, the 19 year-old Dutch international would have perfectly stepped up to midfield duties.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – As a highly-promising talent retained by Antonio Conte in last season’s title truimph, Loftus-Cheek’s bold and adventurous passing style made him an astute loan capture from London neighbours Chelsea. Playing in a midfield three, the England Under 21 international is competent in both defensive and attacking duties. 

Jairo Riedewald – The one permanent signing de Boer made, Riedewald represents the youthful vision he had for his long-term Palace project. At around £8 million pounds, the 20 year-old would probably have been shifted to midfield had Palace managed to sign Sakho or Martins Indi earlier.

Oliver Burke – The former Nottingham Forest man was a target for Palace last summer before he joined German outfit Red Bull Leipzig. Yet just a year later, the Champions League side have cut their losses and sold him on to West Bromwich Albion. At around £15 million pounds, the highly-rated Scottish prospect would not have come cheap. Frank de Boer confirmed his interest in the press before the move, but even with the 20 year-old’s former Forest boss Dougie Freedman returning to SE25, he never came.

Munir El Haddadi – FC Barcelona winger Munir was made available for loan by the Catalan giants, but he eventually joined Deportivo Alavés for the season after Palace’s interest cooled. It was potentially a difficult deal to pull off, but de Boer’s strong ties with Barcelona would’ve interested the one-time Spain international. AS Roma were expected to make a huge bid, but much like with Burke, Palace didn’t have the cash to compete.

Luciano Vietto – Clutching at straws but there were media reports that de Boer was looking for a forward in the mould of Atletico forward Luciano Vietto. An Argentinian international with huge pedigree in La Liga, the 23 year-old has struggled in Madrid after his move from Villarreal two years ago. Palace desperately needed an alternative to Benteke and Vietto would have been able to inject pace in behind defences for de Boer.  

Is This The Player Crystal Palace Need as Their 25th Man?

Crystal Palace are expected to sign a free agent in the coming days after releasing goalkeeper Kleton Perntreou to allow room for one more player in the 25-man Premier League squad, but who will the Eagles opt for?

After a disastrous transfer window ending with Palace missing out on Everton striker Oumane Niasse, the South Londoners know they remain light in more than one key area. As important as a new goalkeeper and another right-back would have been, it’s in the forward positions Palace are struggling for depth in.

Incredibly, Christian Benteke is the only fit first-team striker in the Palace squad after backup options were allowed to leave on loan and Connor Wickham remains sidelined until the new year. Niasse’s late-night transfer reeked of desperation, but his addition would have eased the lack of depth issue. Instead, Palace must now find a suitable candidate for regular Premier League football and provide valuable competition for the Belgian striker.

As near impossible as it would be to find somebody as good as Benteke, somebody must be found who can at least provide a spark off the bench or fill the void if (God forbidding) the star man was injured. Free agent strikers are few and far between but the current list includes the notable ex Manchester United and Villarreal forward Giuseppe Rossi, who is without a club after suffering a serious injury on loan at Celta Vigo from Fiorentina last campaign. The Florence club will probably have preferred to keep the talented Italian, but his injury means he would be an unrealistic target for any club to take on just yet.

With limited possibilities left outside the window, one other name of any real prestige stands out for Palace. Mali striker Cheick Diabate was let go by Turkish club Osmanlıspor after his loan deal at Ligue 1 side FC Metz expired. Despite a successful spell of eight goals in fourteen appearances in France, the player hasn’t found a club yet. His international pedigree, target man style and excellent goal scoring ratio across his career make him hot property for a 29 year-old. Averaging a goal every two games and scoring 66 goals in 152 games for French giants Bordeaux, he would be an astute signing for any club still in need of real quality.

Diabate seems the best possible signing for Palace at this moment in time. All things considered, having one fit striker is more concerning than having two experienced goalkeepers. Bacary Sagna would ideally be the perfect addition, but due to Wickham’s absence, Benteke needs help in a struggling Palace attack. Let’s hope it happens! COYP.

 

Deadline Day Preview – The Five Biggest Transfers That Could Happen

With the close of this summer’s transfer window fast approaching, clubs are in the process of scrambling around the market for any bargains or panic buys they can pick up. Many Premier League clubs go into the final day still unsure of many scenarios that could play out for or against them. We highlight five key transfers that could have a huge influence for the forthcoming campaign.

Alexis Sanchez ARSENAL to MANCHESTER CITY £60 million

Arsenal have pretty much hit rock bottom with their current crisis, but to hit the nail in their coffin key man Alexis Sanchez is highly likely to complete his much-anticipated move away from North London. Entering the final year of his contract, the Gunners would be daft not to cash in on a player who clearly wants out and looks dejected by their whole demise. Pep Guardiola has an arsenal himself at Manchester City, full of many of the best attacking players in the world. It’s questionable as to how they would fit Sanchez into that mix, but one thing is for sure – his former Barcelona coach will make the Chilean a star player. Raheem Sterling had been mooted as a surprising compromise in negotiations, but £60 million should really seal the deal. Arsenal have only themselves to blame and goodness knows where they would and will be without Sanchez’s magic touch. They owe it to the player to allow him to leave, and probably owe themselves the money too to avoid letting him go for nothing next summer.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ARSENAL to LIVERPOOL £40 million

It had appeared Oxlade-Chamberlain was heading across London to arch rivals Chelsea after a £35 million fee had been agreed, but now the 23-year old utility man is having a medical with his boyhood club Liverpool instead. Another embarrassing dilemma Arsenal have caused themselves, the Ox is entering the final year of his contract and has already made his mind up that he wants to jump the sinking ship. Like Sanchez, can you really blame him? After turning down the eventual offer of a contract extension last week, the former Southampton youth player epitomises the negativity around Arsenal under Arsene Wenger. Willing to take a significant pay cut to join the Merseysiders, Oxlade-Chamberlain wants to play in his favoured central midfield position instead of being deployed as a right wing-back under Wenger last season. He reportedly rejected Chelsea because he believed Conte was going to use him in a similar position as well. Prepared to earn £100,000 less than the reported salary Chelsea offered him, Oxlade-Chamberlain offers a refreshing change to the everyday money-grabbing footballer. A player with vast potential, hopefully the England international can thrive under the stewardship of Jurgen Klopp in midfield, especially after his nightmare appearance against the Reds on Sunday.

Riyad Mahrez LEICESTER CITY to ARSENAL/CHELSEA/AS ROMA £40 million

Ever since Leicester’s miraculous one-off title victory in 2015/2016, star man Riyad Mahrez was always likely to constantly be linked with a move to a bigger club. A player who has defied all obstacles to reach his way to the top, the Algerian international owes it to Leicester for everything they’ve achieved but they owe it to him just as much. This means they share a love-love relationship as everybody at the club understands his ambitions and wish to help him achieve his dreams. After handing in a transfer request at the beginning of the summer, Leicester City players, staff and fans have all warmly appreciated the situation. The player loves the club and the club love the player, but they all know Mahrez deserves this big-money move. As the summer has dragged on, no real concrete bids have arrived for the player other than AS Roma’s pursuit which ended well below Leicester’s valuation. The Foxes have every right to ask for around £50 million given transfers such as Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton, but the last day of the window should make them open to helping their loyal servant secure his dream move. Arsenal and Chelsea among others continue to register an interest, so maybe a move should finally materialise. £40 million may force Leicester’s hand, but the player has continued about his business admirably and professionally. He will go with everybody’s blessings, but secretly they will be hoping the interest never turns to anything meaningful. Maybe wait until next January, Riyad?

Renato Sanches BAYERN MUNICH to SWANSEA CITY Loan

Perhaps the most surprising transfer rumour in the final week, Swansea City look likely to pull off an incredible coup by landing one of the world’s most highly-rated youngsters Renato Sanches. After the Portugal international’s £28 million move from Benfica to Bayern Munich last summer, Sanches has found game time few and far between. Considered a supernatural talent from his heroics at Euro 2016 last year, the Bavarian giants have found it difficult to always give the 19-year old enough minutes on the pitch. He could happily continue playing a bit-part role in Munich or he could get some consistent match experience elsewhere on loan. Swansea would undoubtedly make Sanches their key man and offer him star status that the other potential destinations wouldn’t. Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Juventus among other European giants were linked with moves, but a move to South Wales will give the player what he wants for a season. His former assistant coach at Bayern Paul Clement knows the player well and will be a key factor in the player choosing the Swans.

Mamadou Sakho LIVERPOOL to CRYSTAL PALACE £30 million

Going into the final day of negotiations, Liverpool and Palace still remain unable to reach a deal for the France international. The Reds have not budged from their £30 million valuation and will be well-aware of how desperate the South London club are for reinforcements. The player clearly wants the move after continuing to be frozen out by Jurgen Klopp at Anfield. A cult hero for his successful loan spell at Selhurst Park last season, he has remained Palace’s key transfer target ever since. The recent offer emerging from reports has been rejected at £25 million. Palace are really going to have to bite the bullet and cough up the money. They need Sakho more than ever, but Liverpool need their own funds for other potential transfers including Thomas Lemar. Hopefully it all ends well for all parties by the 11pm deadline. It is a transfer that must happen.

Sakho Moves Closer To Expected Palace Move

The summer transfer saga involving Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho and Crystal Palace looks to set to come to an end as the Eagles close in on sealing a deal with the Merseyside club for the France international.

After his hugely successful loan spell in the second half of last season under Sam Allardyce, cult hero Sakho’s highly anticipated return was always expected to drag right to the end of transfer deadline. The 27 year old centre-back remained a key target for new boss Frank de Boer and it seems Palace are finally set for some positive news.

Given the rising costs of players in this year’s crazy summer market, Liverpool rather expectedly haven’t shifted from their £30 million valuation of Sakho. Despite being completely banished from the first-team picture at Anfield under Jurgen Klopp, Sakho is still recognised for his top-class quality that saved a doomed Palace side last season.

Palace are a team in crisis after three straight defeats from the opening Premier League fixtures. A centre-back has remained a key position needed strengthening, particularly with boss de Boer’s new Dutch 3-4-3 passing system from the back. After missing out on names such as Bruno Martins Indi and Calum Chambers, Palace have retained their interest in Sakho throughout.

The Frenchman has apparently remained keen on returning to his illustrious status at Selhurst Park after being harshly treated by Liverpool. The Daily Mail reports Palace may have benefited from playing the long game after Liverpool have softened their stance with just days ticking til the window deadline. It’s rumoured a compromise of £25 million plus add ons totaling Liverpool’s valuation of £30 million will force the Reds to sell.

Similar to Palace’s pursuit of another big name frozen out by Liverpool a year ago, Sakho’s transfer saga is no different to the stalemate over Christian Benteke’s move. The Eagles suffered greatly in the opening games last season too by waiting too long to save a mere few million on a key transfer. Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion offer strong competition for Sakho’s signature, but it’s expected the player will choose the club he’s had his heart set on since his loan expired in May.

Palace Transfer Target Joins Cagliari

Crystal Palace transfer target Gregory van der Wiel has completed a surprising move to Serie A side Cagliari from Fenerbahçe for an undisclosed fee.

The former Paris Saint-Germain and Dutch international, 29, leaves the Turkish capital after just one season. He is a product of the famous Ajax academy after featuring in the first-team for five years under coaches including Palace boss Frank de Boer.

With 46 caps to his name, van der Wiel has been a regular at right-back for his club and country. After four successful seasons in Paris, the defender has decided for yet another fresh challenge abroad. He was rumoured to be one of Frank de Boer’s key transfer targets when he arrived at Selhurst Park at the end of June.

Offering bags of pace, composure and quality down the right-hand side, van der Wiel is very much the definition of the modern-day full-back. As exciting as he is on the attack, he has declined in his defensive abilities hence his spiral downwards from top-level football in Amsterdam and Paris. Istanbul represented another quality move, but the Turkish club’s willingness to allow van der Wiel to move on to measly Cagliari epitomises his current level.

At the age of 29 years old and a stage where the player has lost his international recognition, Palace may have sensibly avoided taking a gamble on a once so dazzling footballer. Starting in the 2010 World Cup final defeat to Spain, van der Wiel’s pedigree has never been doubted. Yet, with Palace’s new transfer strategy of building a squad for the future, van der Wiel’s profile would’ve only offered experience not potential.

A bullet dodged by the Eagles? After missing out on van der Wiel’s Dutch counterpart and future replacement Kenny Tete to Olympique Lyonnais, Palace have a race against time to find a suitable full-back. Depending on priorities, keeping Timothy Fosu-Mensah would be a viable option if it meant Joel Ward was dropped. Get that cheque book out Mr. Parish, it’s fast approaching a disaster.