What if…Crystal Palace had signed Danny Ings in the summer?

Back in July, The Guardian reported that Crystal Palace were intensifying their efforts to sign then-Liverpool striker Danny Ings.

What went down?

Despite Roy Hodgson’s keenness to bring the 26-year-old to Selhurst Park, Southampton ultimately won the race to his signature. Ings joined the south coast club on an initial season-long loan deal that would be made into a permanent switch at the end of the season.

Palace, meanwhile, settled for the arrival of Jordan Ayew, who joined the club on transfer deadline day on a season-long loan deal from Swansea City.

So far this season, Ings has established himself as the focal point of the Saints’ attack and has registered seven goals and one assist in 15 Premier League outings. Ayew, for his part, has struggled for starts and has mustered just one goal and one assist in 13 league appearances.

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Hodgson is likely now rueing his failed attempts to make Ings his own in the summer.

What might have been?

Hodgson’s side are far better than their league position – currently 14th, and just two points clear of the drop zone – would imply. They have a solid squad sprinkled with standout talents such as Wilfried Zaha, Max Meyer, Luka Milivojevic, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Mamadou Sakho. However, they are held back by a crippling lack of goals.

At the time of writing, Palace have scored just 19 goals in 21 league games this season – only Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United have bothered the onion bag less. Their top scorer is Milivojevic with six, a fair amount of which have come from the penalty spot.

In 2016, Palace splashed out a club-record £27 million (potentially rising to £32 million) to sign Liverpool striker Christian Benteke. After a strong first campaign in south London though, the Belgian forward’s form and confidence fell off a cliff. Since the start of last season, the 28-year-old has scored just three goals in 35 Premier League games.

Had the Eagles added Ings’ goals this summer they would be an exciting side playing attractive football whilst comfortably ensconced in mid-table. Without Ings’ input though, they find themselves sinking towards yet another relegation scrap, weighed down by the £27 million millstone that is choking their attack.

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