By Simon Mills
Since this is my first blog since their respective departures, I want to say a massive thank you to both Yannick Bolasie and Mile Jedinak for the years of joy they have helped bring to this football club and the massive imprint they have made in our hearts and minds. I certainly will remember them for as long as I live. I would especially like to thank Mile for his touching words about the club and support for his time here, they truly demonstrated a real feeling for Palace, full of the kind of passion and pride we have seen from our former captain every time he pulled on the shirt.
Their departures have left a huge hole in Palace hearts, but also a big hole in the squad that desperately needs filling, even if they are not direct replacements in those positions. What needs replacing is the excitement they brought and the fear factor they would often give to opponents. We have made huge strides this week in achieving that with the arrival of Christian Benteke for a record-smashing fee and this is probably the most exciting player I can ever remember the club signing. I know I will not be alone with those feelings and I look forward to seeing him reach the kind of heights he managed for Aston Villa while he is in red and blue.
We, as fans, I know would still love us to get another striker and if the calibre of player is right then we could be about to see something very special indeed!
Against West Brom and Tottenham we failed to create enough clear-cut opportunities to score and this is the area of greatest importance to improve upon, it has been our problem now since the turn of the year. Top quality strikers often create such chances through their movement and by creating the space needed to carve out such opportunities. That said, I don’t think the fans would say no to a top quality number 10 either!
According to Alan Pardew, we should expect to see more buys and before our sales he pointed out that we wanted at least two more and then to replace any outgoing. What is absolutely essential though, regardless of how many players we bring in, is that they are top quality players. There is no point at this stage bringing in a number of average squad fillers.
Tuesday's win over Blackpool was encouraging, we were in total control from start to finish and we got to see all our new players play together for the first time. Steve Mandanda is already proving to be a popular choice, James Tomkins put in an enthusiastic performance, Andros Townsend was very unlucky not to score a couple of sensational goals and Christian Benteke is already showing glimpses of the quality we have paid for. I look forward to seeing a full-strength side in the Premier League and hopefully we get that opportunity on Saturday against Bournemouth before everyone disappears for the international break.
For now, I urge the fans to be patient and keep the faith. The club has been on an amazing journey over the last 5/6 years and I, for one, trust those running it completely. We need to focus on what we have gained a reputation for doing - so, support the team loudly and fiercely on a match day.
Message of the day: Stay calm and stay Palace!
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