By Simon Mills
Transfer deadline day, otherwise known as the Sky Sports major panic attack/ratings mega show event, has been and gone. The rumours, excitement, fear and downright megalomania of the whole thing can be put to bed for a couple of months and we can finally get on with the business of the new season proper.
Before we do that though… (Sorry!) Let’s take a moment to review what our beloved Palace have done in the window; all the ins, outs and shake it all abouts. We saw no fewer than 31 deals take place, 23 outgoings and eight coming in. It sounds like an awful lot of departures (15 more out than in), but once you dissect the details it makes a lot more sense.
Since we were promoted back in 2013, we have built up a very large squad and it was inevitable that some of the fat would need to be trimmed, especially if we were to bring in some of the big guns that were alluded to at the start of the summer. Some of the old guard was released and some of the new old guard left too! At the end of their contracts we said goodbye to Marouane Chamakh, Emmanual Adebayor, Adrian Mariappa, Brede Hangeland and Patrick McCarthy.
Inevitably there are a few youngsters about whom the time has come to make the big decision. In reality it is far bigger for the lads themselves than the club but no doubt everyone will wish them the very best in their future and I, for one, will always take note when I hear a familiar old boy’s name pop up at another club. All the best to David Gregory, Chris Kettings, Jake Gray, Jerome Binnom-Williams, Reise Allassani, Connor Dymond and Christian Scales.
Loans, loans, loans… more of them than a dodgy payday company, it’s great to see seven of our lads getting the opportunity to go out and get regular first-team opportunities. Luke Croll (Exeter), Hiram Boateng (Bristol Rovers), Keshi Anderson (Bolton), Freddie Ladapo (Oldham), Johnny Williams (Ipswich), Sullay Kaikai (Brentford), Ryan Inniss (Southend) all have the opportunity to impress at the various levels and hopefully make a mark big enough to warrant consideration when they return to Selhurst Park.
That takes care of 19 of the outs and leaves us with the remaining few that always hurt the most. The ones that make business sense, where inevitably the money talks louder than sentiment and as much as we usually hate to see them, it’s usually the deals that are the best for the club. Dwight Gayle (Newcastle) was the first, Alex McCarthy (Southampton) and then the real tearjerkers; the excitingly unpredictable Yannick Bolaise (Everton) left for mega money and captain fantastic himself Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa) finally set disembarked from the good ship Crystal Palace.
Before we all rush for the lifeboats however, we come to the best bit of a transfer window and the quality/size of the names that have arrived at Selhurst this season makes up for the hurt that any outgoings may have incurred.
Three arrived early and in short order, Steve Mandanda (Marseille) was the first, one of the highest rated goalkeepers in ‘FIFA’ – you just knew he must be good! James Tomkins, a West Ham fan favourite, followed to reinforce the back line. Andros Townsend, an England international who should have gone to the Euros, added to our attacking threat and at an absolute bargain price.
Then came the saga of the summer, fans' forums were losing the plot for months over the possibility of Christian Benteke (Liverpool) and despite many losing their heads to the point of insisting we should ‘move on’, the big man finally arrived to add some much needed sparkle to our attack. Just as Palace fans were getting their heads round having such a talented forward at the club, Loic Remy (Chelsea) made it all the more special by joining on loan and ensuring Eagles supporters were positively drooling at the possibilities!
So who are the other three ? Maybe not quite as high profile, but it’s always good to see youngsters join the club. Giovanni McGregor, Noor Husin and Jonathan Benteke were all welcomed to SE25 into our development team.
So there you have it, 31 transfers wrapped up in a few hundred words. The first 3 games demonstrated a need for two things in particular, attackers and, most importantly, patience. We now have two potentially world-class strikers at the club and we started to see the beginnings of what is possible with this squad in the second half against Bournemouth.
Just imagine the possibilities once the 5 possible starters in our team can influence things, the squad has gelled together and had some time to work out each other’s game. A match-sharp Benteke is a frighteningly good prospect considering how lively he looked half fit last weekend. The table might not look so rosy just yet, but things could be change very dramatically in the coming weeks.
In the meantime lads, don’t get injured!
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