This is set to be one of the busiest and most critical summers in the history of Crystal Palace Football Club.
Not only will the south London outfit have to contend with the departure of former manager Roy Hodgson, but over a dozen first-team players are currently heading for the exit door when their contracts expire at the end of the month.
Under Hodgson, the Eagles secured four mid-table finishes in the Premier League, but the former England boss has left behind an unstable side with the oldest average age in the top-flight.
Several big names have been linked with succeeding the 73-year-old at Selhurst Park, including Sean Dyche, Eddie Howe and Nuno Espirito Santo. However, a move for Swansea City boss Steve Cooper may be a more realistic option.
The young tactician has done a brilliant job in his two years with the Swans, guiding them to consecutive play-off finishes in the Championship, and he may feel ready to take the next step in his promising career.
With that in mind, if he did take the job, how would Cooper’s starting XI look next season once the summer transfer window has concluded? Here’s our prediction…
Cooper often played 3-4-1-2 throughout last season at the Liberty Stadium, but we’re tipping him to change to a slightly more cautious formation should he take charge of Palace.
In goal, Vicente Guaita didn’t have his best season in 2020/21, though his previous heroics should be more than enough for the Spanish shot-stopper to keep his place between the sticks.
We’re tipping mass changes to occur across the backline and not just because of the different system. The likes of Gary Cahill, Mamadou Sakho and Scott Dann are all set to become free agents at this moment in time.
However, the high-quality performances of Cahill last term should be enough to earn him a new deal, and reported transfer targets Joe Worrall (£10m) and Victor Nelsson (£9m) would provide the pace to cover for the ageing 35-year-old star.
Central midfield is another area of the pitch where Palace could lose key men, with James McCarthy and James McArthur yet to be offered a new deal.
Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher (£15m) is thought to attracting interest from Palace chairman Steve Parish after an impressive loan spell at West Bromwich Albion and he could partner fellow target Jon Moncayola (£10m) in the capital club’s engine room.
The dynamic duo would provide the legs and energy needed to play in Cooper’s set-up, and the experience of club-captain and set-piece specialist Luka Milivojevic sitting just behind them will add stability.
Promising academy graduate Tyrick Mitchell may just get the nod in the left-wing-back position ahead of Jeffrey Schlupp due to Cooper’s track record with young players, while the sale of Wilfried Zaha would be enough to fund a move for Sassuolo winger Jeremie Boga.
Zaha has continuously been linked with a £40m move to either Tottenham Hotspur or Everton this summer as the 28-year-old aims to fulfil his ambition of playing in Europe.
With money tight at Palace and any potential manager needing a significant transfer kitty to rebuild the squad, his departure could finally be on the cards.
Boga himself would likely cost at least £30m, meaning a strike partnership of Christian Benteke and Jean-Phillippe Mateta would bear the burden of scoring enough goals to avoid relegation.