Roy Hodgson may rue Crystal Palace’s failure to sign former Leicester City star Demarai Gray before the close of play on deadline day after he starred on his Bundesliga debut for Bayer Leverkusen.
It took just 10 minutes for the 24-year-old wide man to make his mark in the Bundesliga after he wrapped up a 5-2 win over Stuttgart on Saturday afternoon.
In stark contrast, Hodgson cut a frustrated figure in the dugout as his side slumped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Leeds United on Monday night and missed the chance to go above Arsenal in the Premier League table.
Devoid of their chief talisman Wilfried Zaha, Palace failed to break the deadlock, and the defeat simply exposed some of the same-old problems affecting Hodgson’s side. It sounds almost obvious, but the Eagles lacked any real cutting edge as they ultimately came up short against Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Palace have now won just two out of their past 18 Premier League games that the Ivory Coast international has been forced to miss for various reasons.
The Eagles were reportedly interested in signing Gray in the winter transfer window, only for him to reject a move to Selhurst Park and agree personal terms with Bayer Leverkusen.
Now, that’s not to say that Gray could’ve been the perfect replacement for the absent Zaha, but there’s no doubting the fact that his presence would have gone some way towards helping to soften the blow for Hodgson.
Signing the uncapped England international would have been an almost immediate upgrade on Andros Townsend, who has dropped some clangers this season – against Arsenal, he was graded as one of the worst players on the pitch by SofaScore during the 0-0 draw with Mikel Arteta’s side.
Therefore, had they signed Gray, it’s hard to argue that Palace’s attack wouldn’t have improved. He has very quickly left an instant impression on the Bundesliga in such an incredibly short space of time and it looks like he will be worth every penny of the £3m Leverkusen reportedly spent on acquiring his services.
He could have been Palace’s if Steve Parish had been prepared to cough up the money. It’s easy to say with the benefit of hindsight but given the injuries to Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the Palace owner should’ve pulled the trigger.
AND in other news, Luka Milivojevic drops Crystal Palace clanger against Leeds United…