Crystal Palace left most of their transfer business late this summer but eventually got four bodies through the door, not least including the highly-rated Max Meyer. However, were the Eagles shrewd operators during the transfer window or will they come to regret some of the decisions made in recent months?
Football FanCast’s expert writers answer below one simple question – what will prove to be Crystal Palace’s biggest mistake of the transfer window?
“Keeping hold of Wilfried Zaha was clearly the biggest priority for Roy Hodgson during this summer and it is a huge success for the club to have been able to do that. In reality however they cannot rely on the Ivorian all season and I’m of the opinion that Palace should have signed another striker. In fact, Hodgson should’ve totally overhauled this department. Tears would not have been shed at Selhurst Park if Benteke was sold and the same could be said for Connor Wickham and Alexander Sorloth who have failed to impress. Selling all three could have raised the funds to buy two top number nines who would have pushed this impressive Palace team forward.”
“When Hodgson was pictured looking fed up, drenched and slightly confused on the Vicarage Road touchline on Sunday, you have to wonder whether he regretted his decision not to sign a new right-back during the summer. Yes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is clearly a talent, but he is also young and probably shouldn’t be relied upon to start every Premier League match this season. The Eagles certainly showed their lack of quality in depth when Joel Ward replaced the suspended youngster against Watford, with their two goals coming from the Hornets players on his side of the pitch, and Hodgson should have known better than to find himself in this situation given the vast experience he has.”
“It was a move that appeared to be out of their hands, but failing to sign Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a blow for Palace. Despite the Chelsea midfielder experiencing injury problems during his loan spell at Selhurst Park last season, he consistently impressed for the Eagles. One thing that Palace have needed for some time is strength in depth – it is a long hard season and injuries are inevitable, so ensuring that there is quality on the bench is imperative. The Chelsea man’s position in the middle of the park is fluid, which means that he could have been used in a variety of scenarios for Roy Hodgson. For some reason, though, Palace were unable to re-sign a player that could have made a significant impact this season.”
“At some point this summer, perhaps whilst sipping upon a colourful cocktail beside a pool or with a pair of beige slacks rolled up to above his ankles as he strolled along a beach, Roy Hodgson made a big decision. He decided to stick with Benteke. Perhaps the sun had got to him.
“The big Belgian needed replacing this summer. His long standing inability to find the back of the net is fast becoming a millstone dragging the Eagles down. The club are far too reliant upon Zaha to deliver sufficient goods to stave off relegation whilst their big money striker repeatedly spurns clear goal scoring opportunities.
“Perhaps the relatively recent arrival Sorloth is the answer, or even the other newcomer, Jordan Ayew, but Benteke absolutely isn’t. If the 27-year-old doesn’t rediscover his goalscoring touch quickly then Hodgson could find himself with time to vacation again far sooner than he expected.”