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Crystal Palace’s transfer window has failed to live up to the expectations of the fans. The club were expected to invest heavily under new boss Frank de Boer in the summer, after surviving relegation by the slimmest of margins last season.
However, things haven’t gone as per plans for the Eagles in the transfer market, which will have caused a great degree of displeasure to the fans.
Before we get into what went wrong and what Palace got right in the window, let’s take a look at the business they were able to complete in this summer.
There were no major high profile exits from the Eagles, apart from last summer’s signing Steve Mandanda, who started to throw up tantrums to force a move through to his former side Marseille. Experienced midfielders Joe Ledley and Mathieu Flamini were released after their contracts expired, along with striker Frazier Campbell and some deadwoods.
Promising Welshman Jonny Williams was loaned out to Sunderland, while striker Keshi Anderson and defender Ryan Inniss were sent out on temporary spells to League Two sides Swindon Town and Colchester respectively.
Palace brought in only four players in this window, signing Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan from Chelsea, before bringing in promising young defender Jairo Riedewald for a reported £7.9million fee. Another loan signing arrived in the form of versatile Manchester United youngster Timothy Fosu-Mensah, and on the deadline day, the Eagles were finally able to sign their primary transfer target – Mamadou Sakho from Liverpool for £26million.
Before coming into the season, there were reports of Yohan Cabaye wanting to leave the club, while there were concerns over the future of Andros Townsend as well, especially towards the end of the season, when Leicester City ramped up their interest to sign the former Tottenham Hotspur man. So, credit is due for Palace, for keeping hold of two of their most experienced and very important players, this summer.
Coming to the sales, Mandanda was a bad apple and needed to be moved on and the fact that they signed him on a free transfer and sold him on for a nominal fee can be considered as a positive.
The signing of Loftus-Cheek looks like an inspired one, considering the sort of displays he has put on already. The fact that the England youth international can play in a number of positions is an added advantage for De Boer. Riedewald too is a promising youngster with great potential and his versatility is a big plus for the Eagles. The 20-year old is someone who can play with the ball, which makes him an ideal fit into the scheme of things in the 3-5-2 setup that Palace are deploying.
Same can be said about Fosu-Mensah as well – versatile enough to play as a wing-back, as a centre-half, or even in the defensive midfield position. He offers a lot of options. However, one wouldn’t be wrong to think if they should have gone in for a little more experience to add to their ranks.
Sakho is someone they chased the entire summer, after the Frenchman helped them stave off relegation when on loan from Liverpool last season. He knows the league well and has proven himself at this level and should prove to be a great addition. But it remains to be seen as to how he will fit into the three-man backline.
I believe Palace should have gone for another goalkeeper to add to their ranks after having sold Mandanda this summer. Julian Speroni has hardly played in the last couple of seasons and cannot be relied upon to challenge Wayne Hennessey regularly for a place. Failing to address this might prove to be a wrong move by the club.
However, the biggest disappointment for the club from the transfer window will be their inability to get a new striker into the ranks. Apart from Christian Benteke, there are no real out and out senior striking options in the squad for De Boer, given that Connor Wickham is still out injured. This is a position where a reinforcement was needed, but the Eagles could not bring anyone in. They did try to sign Everton outcast Oumar Niasse late on the deadline day, but a deal could not be completed on time, leaving them short on numbers in the attack.
While the business they have completed is solid enough, Palace cannot reamin satisfied with the window given that they left out two key areas that needed addressing, with no reinforcements being added. De Boer is off to a struggling start to the new season and the failure to strengthen the squad significantly could come back to haunt Crystal Palace as the season progresses.