We analyse the plans and priorities for Crystal Palace as they face a huge summer with a managerial search and numerous out-of-contract players.
Which positions are Crystal Palace targeting?
Crystal Palace’s summer hinges on Steve Parish’s skills of negotiation. The Eagles have 15 players out of contract at the end of the season and there are some key individuals who could leave for free at the end of June. James McArthur, Gary Cahill and Christian Benteke are among the group and Michy Batshuayi will also return to Chelsea after his loan spell.
Crystal Palace’s out-of-contract players
|Michy Batshuayi (end of loan)||Striker||27|
|Patrick van Aanholt||Left-back||30|
Scoring has again been an issue for Crystal Palace. They scored just 41 goals, ranking 15 in the Premier League, and are still searching for that consistent goalscorer. Wilfried Zaha – always a subject of interest during the transfer window – and Benteke both hit double figures, but it’s a concern the third highest scorer was Eberechi Eze with four – well behind his team-mates.
Batshuayi has endured a frustrating second loan spell at the club and January signing Jean-Philippe Mateta has yet to get going. The in-form Benteke is also out of contract and they need to sign a new striker.
Eze’s long-term Achilles injury has also rocked Crystal Palace. The training ground freak accident means adding a creative midfielder has become one of the priorities. Last year’s marquee signing was really starting to show his class and the Eagles missed him in their penultimate game against Arsenal. At least one other central defender is likely to be among the targets too.
Parish is also, of course, on the hunt for a new manager after Roy Hodgson’s departure at the end of the season. Crystal Palace want a change of direction to progressive, attacking football under a new boss focused on bringing through young players and establishing an identity with Frank Lampard, Eddie Howe among as many as six contenders. Much of who and where Crystal Palace target this summer will also hinge on the new manager.
One thing is for sure – this summer will be key for Crystal Palace and they are a club on the cusp of a big transition. Fans will be hoping it is moving further up the Premier League table.
What do the stats say about Crystal Palace?
Crystal Palace continue to have the oldest XI in the Premier League at just over 29 years old. If a rebuild is on the cards, the Eagles need to be targeting players aged 25 and under.
One of the pitfalls of a older squad is ranking bottom for sprints this season, as well as a low kilometre run count. In the fast-paced Premier League, it’s vital Crystal Palace keep up with their opponents.
What the manager has said
Outgoing manager Roy Hodgson on…
Out-of-contract players: “I think it is much more a problem for the club with so many players who are missing at the end of the season. There are some good players in that group who are out of contract. When you have quite that many, you’ll be looking at a total rebuild if those out of contract don’t sign new deals.”
Potential new signings: “The club has wanted to invest more. The club has wanted to help out, but we haven’t been able to do that so far.
“Let’s hope now that will come about, and some of these guys will get a bit of boost from one or two new faces coming into the club – just like we have had a boost from the new face of Eberechi Eze.”
What should Crystal Palace do this summer?
Sky Sports News’ Michael Bridge writes: “It’s easier to say where they are not targeting. Crystal Palace could be one of the busiest clubs this summer. Their aim is for players under 25 and loan deals could be part of their thinking yet again.
“Finding a replacement for Eze is key – you cannot underestimate how big of a blow his injury has been and his team-mates showed their public support for him throughout their fixture against Arsenal. Could Crystal Palace look to Ruben Loftus-Cheek? He is loved at Selhurst Park after a successful loan spell in 2017/18 and has just finished a season-long loan at Fulham.
“In terms of the out-of-contract players, I’m told Patrick van Aanholt has decided to leave and Tyrick Mitchell will be confirmed first choice left-back. Ryan Bertrand had been mentioned but there’s a belief he will move elsewhere for high wages to a club with European football.
“Crystal Palace would also like Gary Cahill to stay for another season and do not be surprised to see Scott Dann and Joel Ward sign on for one more year too to add continuity and stability.
“Could this also be the summer we do not have countless speculation over Zaha’s future? There is a growing belief his opportunity to move to a ‘bigger’ club has now gone, despite his recent admission he is open to a fresh challenge and would not turn down a move away from Crystal Palace in order to win trophies with a ‘top’ club.
“But one of the biggest issues to address is appointing the right manager. Fans loved Hodgson but the vast majority wanted a change this summer, which is perfectly fine after some flat performances. But while it might not be the most entertaining of football at times, Palace always finished comfortably in mid-table under him.
“The likelihood is Crystal Palace will appoint a manager with Premier League experience. The brief for the new boss will be to play attractive football and a continued focus on the academy, something the club are incredibly proud of and rightly so. Crystal Palace’s academy side is thriving, but it might be a year or two too early to throw them into the Premier League.
“There’s a belief from some Palace have a reputation for choosing the wrong managers, which is rather unfair. Tony Pulis, Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson were all very successful appointments. Frank de Boer was a disaster but credit to Steve Parrish, who acted quickly and brought in Hodgson.
“Crystal Palace must hit the ground running. Plenty of eyes will be on the new manager. It is essential Palace start day one of pre-season with a good base of a squad, with new deals in place and a manager who’s already been in charge for a few weeks.”
Sky Sports’ Charlotte Marsh writes: “It’s all about those out-of-contract players. To have 15 players – almost an entire matchday squad – set to leave the club for free on June 30 is quite incredible.
“But unsurprisingly, having had the oldest Premier League XI this season, only three of those players are under the age of 30 – Jeff Schlupp (28), Andros Townsend (29) and Connor Wickham (28). By the start of next season, Townsend will have hit 30.
“Crystal Palace need to drastically reduce the age of their squad, whether that is with new signings or bringing through academy talent. Signing Eze last summer and handing Mitchell a new four-year deal in April were good starts – now much more of the same needed.
“As with every transfer window, the future of Zaha could be a big talking point. He remains Crystal Palace’s most vibrant player, but has long expressed his desire to play Champions League football one day. Under the right manager, even European football might not be out of reach.
“But should Zaha leave and only a handful of the out-of-contract players sign new deals, Crystal Palace could be facing a major rebuild.”