Saturday, April 20, 2024

Crystal Palace – Under The Microscope

The season last year finished strong with 11th place finish after a terrible start. Crystal Palace was very strong with Hodgson against opponents outside the top ten. Also turning around Palace home record with 26 points this season from 17 games. Palace’s 2nd highest number home points in a season for twenty team top flight. The biggest disappointment was going out early in all the cups.

State of Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace under Parish are a team that loves to do last minute deals but last summer window missing out on Tosun and Niasse on the last day. Also with the window now shutting on the 9th August. There will be more pressure from fans to get the deals done as early as possible.

Dougie Freedman

After that summer window, Parish has appointed Dougie Freedman as Sporting Director. This should help them to secure transfer targets more effectively. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen in January. As Hodgson revealed in a press conference.  “Everyone was disappointed with the January window, we needed to strengthen at that point at the height of the injury crisis, and we only really got a Norwegian striker [Alexander Sorloth] to take the place of [Bakary] Sako, who got injured at West Ham. So we really replaced one for one, rather than really strengthening the team”.

It would be harsh to judge Freedman solely on one transfer window. In the past, he worked well with Parish. Our best transfer window was summer window that brought in Joel Ward, Yannick Bolasie, Peter Ramage, Andre Moritz and Damien Delaney.

Freedman a couple of years ago on a great interview with then called Holmesdale Radio and now called Back of Nest (well worth listening to on Itunes). He shared the story of how got Damien Delaney to sign with Crystal Palace. At the time he wanted to retire after a bad spell with Ipswich. Dougie got him to have lunch before he was due to fly back to Ireland. As it’s not far from the airport. After lunch, he should just check out the training ground it wasn’t far and he still had time. As Damien was at the training ground he might as well train with the team. Then after he had done training there was a short-term contract ready for him. This story makes me believe he would be a good Sporting Director to persuade players to join Palace.

It would be hard to judge as it’s a team effort with Parish, Freedman, and Hodgson all working together. Without being in the room where it happened it’s hard to give praise or criticise any of them individually but it is fair to criticize them as a team.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson  

Roy wasn’t impressed with January window. I hope that the club will have learned lessons from that and we will do our business earlier this year to strengthen us to make sure we have a 25 man squad to go into the next season.” But more recently on the interview on Palace TV. Mentions that with the loan signings teams are waiting until much closer to the window to decide if they can loan out Premier League quality players. This shouldn’t effect Crystal Palace signing new players but I feel they’re going to wait until they know about there chances to sign Reuben Loftus-Cheek before more movement is made. Similar to last season when Mamadou Sakho was the main marquee target. 

Money Fears

Recently money fears due to statutory accounts being released late and a lack of transfer activity. In 2016/17 Crystal Palace had 9th highest wage bill (£111.8 million) and under £1 million away from Leicester in 7th. That was the season they were in the Champions League. Worth noting that there isn’t a breakdown of the wage bill. This probably includes large pay off for Alan Pardew and the bonuses for staying up for Sam Allardice and January signings.

Other Spending

Crystal Palace has announced stadium redevelopment plans. Parish has said that this will be paid from ring-fenced funds that are not affected by Palace’s Premier League status. So you could assume this will not affect the transfer funds. But whats not mentioned is the cost of the new academy training ground to gain category one status. When the head of operations and performance director Steve Higham left for Manchester United it was mentioned that Palace was close to securing the site for the academy. The funds for this improvement might affect the transfer and wage budget.

Change of Narrative

Personally, I feel part of this is to change the narrative about Crystal Palace. Each window we have always had funds available to buy more. As there have been deals that didn’t go through. Parish is very good at branding. In the last window journalist from Denmark were shocked by the amount paid to buy Sørloth from Midtjylland. I think that Palace wants to change their image to less of the club with too much more to get fleeced in transfer dealings.

Diamonds in the Rough

Wan Bissaka almost comes from nowhere to become fans first choice right back within a couple months. It’s not like he didn’t have competition for that spot. Joel Ward has been a solid Premier League right back and Hodgson’s first choice. Also above Dutch international Timothy Fosu-Mensah that had been playing right back and Martin Kelly former England International. Aaron had his loan move was rejected by Crystal Palace in January so that he could play for the first team if needed. Got his chance in the middle of the injury crisis. So this leads to the question what other diamonds in the rough are currently in the youth set-up.

James Daly

James has impressed in the under 23s last season with 13 games and 9 goals. The Brighton born player has been in the academy since he was 14 after being rejected after a trial with Brighton. Just like young Ian Wright. The left-footed striker but also can be used on the wing. If Crystal Palace doesn’t sign a striker then this could sign of faith in the young striker. But this is unlikely and will have a lot of competition for a role in the squad same as Wan Bissaka. If he has good preseason he could earn a place on the bench.  Like last season as before earning a position on the bench against Bournemouth. After scoring double against Watford u23 and hat-trick against QPR u23. But unfortunately, he didn’t get a spot on the preseason tour.

Nya Kirby

Nya is a young midfielder that signed from Tottenham after Chelsea tried to sign. That move from Chelsea failed after Tottenham had reported them for tapping. Nya was a part of the England team that won under 17 world cup and is fond of cheeky nutmeg (video doing the rounds on twitter). Recently has moved up to the under 18s and scored two goals in three games. He played in a preseason friendly against Helsingor. After the game, Ray Lewington told official CPFC site “He has loads of potential, he’s really good on the ball, and represented England at youth level. He’s a good prospect.”

Writers Suggestions


So Crystal Palace finished the season joint 9th for goals scored with 45 goals. So why would this be the first area to look at? Well, it’s due to expected goals.  This model is based on the type of chance, position and if it’s a counter attack. But Palace should have scored just under 57 that’s 12 goal difference. That is the biggest underachievement in the Premier League last season for expected goals. The next nearest was Newcastle with six.  

This will not come cheap and every team is looking for a striker to make a difference. Last summer Britt Assombalonga went to Middlesborough for 15 Million in the Championship so fees are very high even in the Championship. But as we would be looking more for support striker for the big striker which is out of fashion style of play Palace get value from signing.  Previous seasons Palace normally get a loan striker under Parish. This includes Remy, Bamford, and Sanogo. None of these players did much to earn a first-team place.


Finished strongly on his loan spell at Crystal Palace and went to the World Cup with England. Only made 24 appearances due to injury for Palace. With a handful of little injuries throughout the season. There is chance Chelsea will want to cash out and sell this asset. As that is how Chelsea fund there bigger transfers. As Ruben had a good World Cup his value has increased. Will now be worth too much for Crystal Palace to be able to buy. I think the prudent move for Rubens career would be one more season on loan at Palace before picking a lane. The major counterpoint would be that Chelsea will be in the Europa League next season. They might be more willing to give Ruben minutes playing at that level. It was Europa League games that helped Harry Kane breakthrough at Tottenham.    

Tammy Abraham

If Crystal Palace doesn’t loan Loftus-Cheek then they could target Tammy as a loan from Chelsea. Palace often loan players from Chelsea. Each of the last three season there has been a loan player from Chelsea at CrystalPalace. Tammy was on loan last season at struggling Swansea and managed to score five in the league ( from 15 league starts and being subbed on 16 times) and three in the cups.

Christian Benteke

There have been rumors of Hebei China Fortune and Besiktas are looking to add Benteke to their squad. Christian has had a poor year with only scoring three goals in the season and then being dropped from the Belgium world cup squad. Crystal Palace found form and good style of play without Christian in center of it. While I still think he is a good player. If Roy isn’t going to play to his strengths it would probably best for Crystal Palace to sell him and use his wages on new strikers that fit the new style.

Andros Townsend

Andros has been linked with both Newcastle and Leicester this summer; Newcastle due to this great 6 months and Leicester as a replacement for Mahrez. These rumours have been constant for the last couple of months. This will be his third year of a five-year contract, 26 years old and 13 caps for England. There should be a good transfer fee if does leave. Either his agent wants him to get a new contract or club are looking to cash in to spend on other areas of the squad.

Lazy Fan Insider Knowledge


Vincente Guaita (Goalkeeper, Getafe CF)


Damien Delaney (Defender, Cork City)

Yohan Cabaye (Midfielder, Al-Nasr)

Chung-Yong Lee (Midfielder, unattached)

Bakary Sako (Midfielder, unattached)

Diego Cavalieri (Goalkeeper, unattached)


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