Crystal Palace entered a new chapter in their history over the summer when the club’s hierarchy backed Patrick Vieira with vast sums to spend on exciting young talent in the transfer market.
Things were very different in south London before, though. Managers were forced to work largely on a shoestring budget under the watchful eye of chairman Steve Parish, meaning every player through the door counted.
And one acquisition that the Eagles have always been able to rely on is James McArthur.
McArthur was rewarded with a new contract back in 2018 after four successful years at the club and received glowing praise from Parish for his pivotal role in Palace establishing themselves as a Premier League outfit.
“James has been a huge success at the club and embodies everything we are about at Crystal Palace. We are absolutely delighted that he has re-signed with us,” he said.
But the former Scotland international has arguably taken his game to another level this season, despite being 34 years old.
As per WhoScored, McArthur has averaged 2.3 tackles per top-flight fixture, 1.2 interceptions and 1.8 defensive dribbles, placing him in the top-four amongst his teammates for each metric.
His eye-catching displays in the middle of the park have caught the attention of several impressed onlookers, including his manager Vieira.
“He is valuable, he’s our captain, and so he has a responsibility to bring his leadership to the squad,” said Vieira after Saturday’s victory over Wolves.
“He’s a fighter, he’s a warrior, he’s the benchmark for a professional. This is the same in training, he is no different.”
Backup goalkeeper Remi Mathews also took to Twitter after the 2-0 win over Manchester City to claim McArthur is “underrated,” and it’s clear the diminutive dynamo is enjoying an Indian summer as his career winds down in spectacular fashion.