Crystal Palace appear to be closing in on their new manager after several weeks of searching for Roy Hodgson’s successor.
Former Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre is reportedly close to accepting a contract offer from the capital club, meaning an exciting new chapter awaits the Eagles.
The 63-year-old tactician is known for playing an exciting style of football and should bring a wave of optimism and hope to Selhurst Park upon his arrival.
However, Favre will have a tough job on his hands in south London. A major overhaul of the first-team squad is needed, key man Wilfried Zaha is angling for a move away, and Eberechi Eze is sidelined until the new year with an injury.
To make matters worse, the effects of the ongoing pandemic means the retired Switzerland midfielder is likely to have a shoestring budget to work with this summer, should he accept the club’s terms.
With that in mind, if he does take the job, how could Favre’s starting XI look next season once the summer transfer window has concluded?
Here’s our prediction…
Goalkeeper Vicente Guaita has been one of the Eagles’ standout performers over the last couple of years and is expected to keep his place irrespective of who takes control over the coming months.
The full-back positions are also likely to be occupied by familiar faces, with highly-rated 21-year-old Tyrick Mitchell on the left and experienced campaigner Nathaniel Clyne on the opposite flank, although the former Liverpool man would need to be handed a new contract first.
It’s at centre-back where Favre would be required to make the most changes. Gary Cahill, Scott Dann and Mamadu Sakho are all set to depart when they become free agents at the end of the month.
As a result, at least two new centre-halves will be required at Palace. Nottingham Forest’s Joe Worrall has been linked with a £10 million move in recent weeks and we think Favre would be happy to see that deal go through.
He could be partnered with Chelsea youngster Marc Guehi after an impressive loan spell at Swansea City attracted the attention of several Premier League sides and is expected to cost in the region of £15m.
Another Blues academy graduate who could be on the move this summer is Conor Gallagher. A £15m price tag has been placed on the England Under-21 international’s head and he’d offer energy next to the experienced Luka Milivojevic.
In attack, Zaha’s sale could fund an audacious swoop for Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey. The 30-year-old is reportedly available for a bargain price of £8.5m and getting Zaha’s salary off the books frees up cash to spend on the Welshman’s wages.
Ramsey could be partnered by free agent signing Josh King, Christian Benteke and January addition Jean Philippe Mateta in the final third as Favre looks to build a dynamic, well-rounded forward line in the same mould as the one he had at Dortmund.
And, in other news…Huge £220m update emerges from Crystal Palace, fans should be worried