It is set to be a big summer of change for Crystal Palace, with a new manager and the likelihood of a squad overhaul.
Following Roy Hodgson’s decision to step away from football management after four years at Palace, the Eagles are now searching for a new manager.
But Crystal Palace fans may be alarmed at the sight of the club’s retained list, which has been published by the Premier League this evening, along with the lists of the other 19 top flight sides.
While seeing a few names on the list of who will be released for each club is no surprise every summer as players leave for pastures new, the sight of 22 players for one club is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows.
That is the extent of the list for Palace, as published by the Premier League tonight, with first team regulars such as Gary Cahill, Scott Dann, Andros Townsend and Joel Ward among them.
In addition, big money signings from recent years, Mamadou Sakho and Patrick van Aanholt, are also on the list for Palace, alongside a host of other first team squad members and players from the club’s younger age groups.
However, as noted by the Premier League, players signified as a “free transfer” or released by a club on the expiry of their contract on June 30 could still remain with the club next season, so this list should not be seen as definitive.
And football.london understands that is the case for Palace, with several players out of contract this summer in talks with the club over new deals.
That includes Ward and Townsend, who have both spoken about their contract situation recently, with Ward making clear his intention to stay amid a “transitional stage” for the Eagles.
Speaking to football.london, he said: “We are in a transitional stage and in a different position now going into the summer with changes on the horizon.
“As players we just have to focus on what we can control and that is our own performances and the way we conduct ourselves. Everything else is down to the hierarchy, the chairman and people involved in that process. I think the club has a great platform and a great foundation to build from.
“All I can do is focus on playing. I still believe there is many more years here at the club and hopefully that can get resolved and sorted. I would like to think I have given everything I can to keep the club in the Premier League.
“Hopefully things get sorted out, we are in talks and the club know where I stand, so hopefully things can move forward and when things get tied up we can enjoy the next few years.”
Talks over new contracts are likely to continue, with the continued uncertainty over the management situation at the club.
Former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is one manager who has been linked, while Burnley boss Sean Dyche has also been heavily linked with a move to south London, although no appointment has yet been made.
Prior to the end of the season, Hodgson said that Palace chairman Steve Parish and sporting director Dougie Freedman were handling discussions with players and their agents, although his successor is likely to have a say in who will stay and who will go.
One contract decision has already been taken prior to the arrival of a new manager, with Christian Benteke putting pen to paper on a new two-year deal earlier this week.
But some of those players out of contract this summer have been strongly linked with moves away, including van Aanholt and Sakho, who have been tipped to make moves abroad.
Townsend has also admitted that he too has had offers from abroad, but with a young family he says
“It’s a tough one,” he said, speaking on the Original Penguin X Campaign Against Living Miserably Under The Surface podcast.
“I’m at a point in my career where I’m 29 and I need to make the right decision for my career. I love the Premier League and I want to get as many games as I can in the Premier League whilst I am able but there’s a couple of options overseas where there’s possible Champions League football, which unfortunately I’m never going to get in the Premier League.
“So I’m at a stage now where do I want to continue what I’m doing at a similar Premier League level or do I want to do something different and maybe fight for a title in another country or fight to play in the Champions League at another level.”
Townsend has not ruled out staying at Palace though, and some of those on the list published by the Premier League are likely to stay, depending on the new manager’s plans, with no new boss likely to want to have to overhaul a squad to the extent that letting 22 players go would require.
The list of ‘released players’ published by the Premier League is as follows: Brandon Aveiro, Lewis Bryon, Gary Cahill, Nathaniel Clyne, Scott Dann, Kian Flanagan, Kevin Gonzalez, Harlem Hale, Stephen Henderson, Wayne Hennessey, Lewis Hobbs, Rohan Luthra, Alfie Matthews, James McCarthy, Jacob Russell, Jude Russell, Mamadou Sakho, Andros Townsend, Patrick van Aanholt, Joel Ward, Connor Wickham, Samuel Woods.
Some of the players linked will indeed leave the club this summer, with several players from the Eagles’ U23 and U18 sides among them, but it is highly unlikely that all 22 players listed as being released will in fact be on their way out.