If we’re being completely honest, we can’t remember the last time that Crystal Palace had one of the best players in the world on their books.
Whilst some will argue that Wilfried Zaha falls into that category, Ian Wright was probably the last truly world-class star who plied his trade at Selhurst Park, before the club’s greatest ever striker ended up signing for local rivals Arsenal in 1991.
However, things may have panned out very differently indeed if they had played their cards right a few years ago.
According to Sky Sports, Palace missed the opportunity to sign Ferland Mendy from Le Havre in the summer of 2017, as it seems the Eagles weren’t willing to pay the same price as Lyon.
The French Ligue 1 side spent a mere €5m plus €1m in additional add-ons to prise him away from Le Havre (£5m), which is hardly a colossal amount, especially when you consider the fact that Palace signed Mamadou Sakho from Liverpool for £26m in the same year.
Obviously, it’s easy to look back with the benefit of hindsight, but if the Eagles had pulled the trigger, they could have had a true world-class talent on their hands.
Mendy is arguably one of the best full-backs in the world at the moment, as he has already won the La Liga title and the Spanish Super Cup with Real Madrid, having made 25 appearances in the Spanish top flight last season, via Transfermarkt.
Once hailed as a very “talented” beast by club legend Zinedine Zidane, the 25-year-old has even started to usurp legendary Brazilian left-back Marcelo – the French international has played more league games than his teammate so far this season.
Mendy averaged 1.3 tackles, 1 clearance and 2 dribbles per league game last term, whilst he scored one goal and supplied two assists, via WhoScored. By comparison, even Patrick van Aanholt only managed fewer than one dribble per game in the Premier League last season, as per WhoScored.
With Tyrick Mitchell working his way back to fitness, and van Aanholt only recently returned from a spell on the sidelines, it looks like Palace missed an opportunity to land an absolute bargain back then who surely would’ve been in contention to start right now.
Steve Parish wasn’t prepared to part ways with such a small amount in 2017, which now looks like it was a terrible mistake, as he’s now valued at £36m via Transfermarkt, and Palace could have signed him for £5m. Even in the unlikely event a transfer hadn’t worked out as well as planned, they could’ve still sold him for a greater profit. It almost doesn’t bear thinking about.