Crystal Palace have been linked with a host of big-money marquee signings so far this summer, and that shows both the ambition of the club, but also that the draw the club possesses perhaps isn’t as strong as their ambition.
Threatening the top four until a terrible turn of the year, Palace almost looked like they’d get dragged into a real relegation battle towards the very end of the season. Yet they did have one eye on an FA Cup run and were unlucky to lose to an underwhelming Louis van Gaal Manchester United side reliant on a Jesse Lingard wondergoal in the final.
The problem this season is whether or not that poor form since last January will stifle Palace’s start to this season, and if it does, they’ll start to look like Hull City this time two years ago. Steve Bruce’s side lost to Arsenal in extra time in an FA Cup final after a dismal second half of the season.
They couldn’t arrest the bad form the next year, however, and ended up relegated. Alan Pardew will have to be wary of the declining form and make sure his side hits the ground running.
On recent form, just staying in the division could be a success, but the ambition of the club would suggest they’ll do much better than that if they can get off to a good start.
With the Premier League so unpredictable this season thanks to the TV money, Palace’s approach of splashing the cash could see a return – who dares wins, remember.
Linked with some big attacking names in deals that haven’t come to fruition must be frustrating, but he signings of Steve Mandanda and Andros Townsend are a signal of intent. The addition of a striker is a must for Pardew between now and the end of the window, but there’s more than enough quality in the side to have a good season if they get a run going.
Last season Wilfried Zaha looked like a man who was happy to have returned home. This season, he’ll be firmly established as a man who Palace will be looking to for chance-creation and defence-terrorism.
Palace have been rebuffed by strikers all transfer window, and if they don’t manage to find a striker who will be the out-and-out starter all season then the job of getting goals may be shared around once again.
If that’s the case, then Connor Wickham might need to prove that he’s actually a Premier League quality striker.