It was supposed to be a season full of fresh hope and optimism for Crystal Palace supporters, but after only three games of the 2020/21 campaign, an all too familiar concern has already reappeared.
Former Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira succeeded Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park over the summer after four years of pragmatism under the Englishman’s reign.
His arrival saw the beginning of a new chapter in south London, one that promised to move away from their previously mundane existence in the Premier League, to one full of excitement, goals and entertainment.
However, it’s been anything but. An opening-day 3-0 defeat in the Premier League by Chelsea has been followed up by a goalless draw with Brentford before they were dumped out of the Carabao Cup 1-0 by Watford on Tuesday evening.
Although conclusions cannot be drawn after only 270 minutes of action, it’s clear Vieira is going to need some attacking reinforcements before the transfer window shuts.
Three blanks in a row to kickstart the new era is not the beginning anyone had planned at Palace, but the solution could be a relatively simple one.
Several strikers have been linked with a move to Selhurst Park in the current window, including Arsenal youngster Eddie Nketiah, who now appears to be the capital club’s number one priority.
A recent report on Sky Sports claimed the two Premier League sides were someway apart in their valuation of the player, though, with the Gunners putting a £20m price tag on their academy graduate.
Although that figure may seem steep for a player who is yet to start over seven top-flight fixtures in a single campaign, his arrival could be vital if Vieira is to successfully implement his plans and not fall foul to the same obstacles that saw Frank de Boer last just 77 days in the Palace dugout.
Upon his arrival, the former Nice boss outlined his intentions to get the Eagles playing a vibrant brand of football built on possession, something the club’s supporters haven’t witnessed in many years.
“My hope is to get the best of the players,” Vieira said. “What I really want is to put a philosophy in place that my players understand really well so that when they go on the field they can express themselves.
“Because there is talent, and my responsibility will be to make that talent work well together. I want to see a team who is on the front foot.
“I want the team to score more goals, to have more shots on target than we used to, but at the same time to keep this kind of mental strength that the team has created in the last couple of years – to become even stronger.
“I have a really good idea about the team that we have. I think what we will need is to bring players who can create chances; players who can score goals,” the Frenchman concluded.
But Vieira needs to be backed in the transfer market if he’s going to fulfill his ambitious plans. The defensive acquisitions have provided a solid base to build from, and now chairman Steve Parish must sanction a move for Nketiah to provide the finishing touches.
The highly-rated former England Under-21 international was labelled “extraordinary” by current Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, and the Palace supporters would surely love to see him swap north for south London this summer.