After a fair few weeks of unsubstantiated rumours, we head into July without a single addition having been made to the Crystal Palace squad since January. It’s proving difficult for a fair few people to cope with, particularly when being forced to watch clubs up and down the country strengthening each day, but there’s little reason to panic just yet.
Mass exits and arrivals have long been par for the course in SE25, with the squad changing dramatically in many of our recent pre-season campaigns, none more so than our first summer back in the Premier League under the management of Ian Holloway, when the Bristolian decided to bring close to 20 new faces into the group for fear of being found out by technically superior outfits.
Since then, thanks to the iron-rule of Tony Pulis, the brief and ultimately doomed reign of Neil Warnock and the current regime under Alan Pardew, we have seen the playing staff streamlined into an established top flight outfit, capable of challenging the best sides in the country when they’re on their game. Built upon a solid defensive foundation, we possess flair and pace in wide areas, with a battle-ready central midfield and the likes of Jason Puncheon, Glenn Murray and Marouane Chamakh providing a goal threat.
Whilst the squad could do with changes in certain areas, (let’s be honest, which team couldn’t?) there isn’t the same urgency attached to our summer transfer plans this year, with an emphasis placed upon quality rather than quantity. Alan Pardew readily spoke about his hopes of bringing in three or four “top quality” players before the new season kicks off, with rumours of a move for PSG’s Yohan Cabaye possibly the first of a few deals in the next few weeks but crucially, we aren’t faced with a need for wholesale changes to be confident of maintaining our place in the division.
Gradually, we are attempting to claw our way up the Premier League pecking order, with one or two obvious improvements suddenly seen as preferential to making moves for 10-12 new players, given the strength in-depth we already have at our disposal. At this juncture, it’s worth remembering that the club have finished in a higher position in every year under the ownership of CPFC2010, leading to genuine and feasible hopes of a push for the top eight during the next campaign, with the players almost certainly feeling confident of their chances.
Everyone would like to see the club getting all of their business concluded early each summer, but this year, try not to worry too much. We will make signings which will on paper at least, improve the squad markedly. When those deals are announced cannot be predicted with any certainty, but do yourself a favour, get into the sun, take a breath and have a cold beverage of your choosing.
Things are changing at Selhurst Park.