Crystal Palace are set to offer Joel Ward a new contract after his previous deal expired at the end of last month.
According to the Evening Standard, the 31-year-old had been expected to remain at the club alongside fellow experienced duo Christian Benteke – who has penned a new two-year deal – and Gary Cahill – who is yet to be offered fresh terms.
The report claims that Ward was informed of Palace’s intention to offer him fresh terms towards the backend of last season, but the Eagles’ hierarchy were waiting until a new manager was appointed before completing the majority of new deals. With Patrick Vieira now in charge, he’s seemingly signed off on the deal to keep Ward at the club.
Ward had been on the books of the capital club since arriving from Portsmouth back in 2012 and was a reliable and consistent performer under Roy Hodgson throughout the recently concluded campaign.
The 6 ft 1 right-back made 26 Premier League appearances for Palace last term, keeping former Liverpool ace Nathanial Clyne on the bench and started the last 14 top-flight fixtures in a row.
His honest, full-blooded displays over the years have seen Ward turn into a fan’s favourite at Selhurst Park, meaning the club’s supporters will be elated at this latest revelation.
Several first-team figures departed Palace earlier in the summer following the expiration of their contracts, but news that Ward is set to put pen to paper on a new deal will be comforting to large sections of the fanbase.
His departure – along with Clyne’s – had left Martin Kelly as the only recognised right-back within the current setup, leaving nVieira desperately short of options.
The former Nice boss faces a tough task in overseeing a major squad overhaul on a shoestring budget, although that prospect would be significantly easier if Ward returns to his old stomping ground.
Many exciting names have been linked with a move to Palace in recent weeks, such as Kasper Dolberg, Victor Nelsson and Ismaila Sarr, but retaining their experienced players with bags of Premier League experience could be just as important in their battle to beat the drop next season.
Palace fans will be very, very happy about this news.
And, in other news…Crystal Palace announce transfer update that’ll surely leave fans buzzing