Crystal Palace announced a loan deal for Lucas Perri on Thursday via their official website and, while many surely see the Brazilian as a squad player rather than an addition to the starting XI, his signing gives Roy Hodgson a golden opportunity to finally end the debate over who should be the Eagles’ number 1.
Perri makes the switch to Selhurst Park from Sao Paulo on a temporary basis and, in his six-month spell in red and blue, he will have to compete with Wayne Hennessey and summer signing Vicente Guaita for the gloves.
The latter surely edges out the former based on current form but both are sidelined with injury at the moment, leaving third choice ‘keeper and Palace legend Julian Speroni to deputise between the sticks.
While his performance against Liverpool may be one the Argentine hopes won’t count towards his statistics – Speroni was at fault for Mohamed Salah’s second – his first start this season made him the third different custodian to don the gloves for Palace in 2018/19; injuries have admittedly played their part, but that is still quite ridiculous.
If Perri gets in ahead of the 39-year-old, he would become the fourth. Palace’s defence are surely far from assured by Hodgson’s chopping and changing of goalkeepers and the manager must put all his eggs in his new signing’s basket for the good of the team.
Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins have formed a formidable partnership at the heart of defence but, with the uncertainty as to who will guard the net next time out, they would surely play with more confidence if it was made clear who the number one choice is.
What makes Perri the number one, though? Well, he’s only 22, so has plenty of room to grow and will get better playing regular minutes. His distribution is also far better than any of his competitors and that ability to start an attack quickly will be more beneficial in the coming weeks as Christian Benteke returns to the fold – his hold up play will mean most long balls are won by Palace.
If Hodgson can finally establish a back five he trusts, the 71-year-old may loosen the shackles on the rest of the outfield players, too, and with goals a rare commodity at SE25 this season, that can surely only mean more opportunities to score.