After finishing 15th in the English Premier League last season, Crystal Palace had only one chance to give their fans something to rejoice for; The FA Cup Final. However, their dreams were done and dusted in the 110th When Jesse Lingard netted the winner. They lost 1-2 against Manchester United even after drawing first blood in the 78th minute thanks to Jason Puncheon.
Being Runners-up in the Cup Final, gaffer Alan Pardew didn’t quite lose hope and expectations from his boys. This post-season break saw Crystal Palace buy some quality players to strengthen their squad for the upcoming season.
This 24-year old English Right winger was Palace’s first signing of the season. Spending most of his career in loan spells, Andros ‘Andy’ Townsend was signed by Newcastle United in January 2016; however, the Toon Army, fighting relegation was interested to loan him out. His debut was quite disappointing as Newcastle suffered a bad 3-0 loss against Everton; however in his second game, he received a standing ovation from the fans as he was announced the Man of the Match against West Brom after Newcastle’s 1-0 victory. That win would help them to avoid the relegation battle for a few weeks. His only goal last season was the consolation goal for Newcastle against Chelsea, in which they were hammered by the men in Blues by 5-1.
Townsend is quite known as an old-fashioned winger with good pace. His major skills include the use of both his feet, which allows him to play on either side of the wing. Also, his pin-point crosses and the way he gets past the defenders are noticeable. Alan Pardew was quite keen to sign this young talented winger, and traded him with Dwight Gayle over a sum of £13.26m.
After 8 long years in West Ham, James Tomkins was The Eagles’ second signing of the season. Following the departure of centre backs Patrick McCarthy, Adrian Mariappa and Brede Hangeland, Pardew was looking for a strong and experienced yet young defender; on the other hand, Tomkins was being watched by different clubs all over Great Britain but Palace signed him quickly as one of their key player for next season. With 206 caps for West Ham, he is known for his great defensive skills and his ability to play as a central defensive midfielder.
The 27-year old Englishman has a great record on winning aerial duels and can hold on to the ball when most required. He also likes to play long balls; which is something the Eagles would look forward to. On the July 5th Palace finalised the deal and was bought for an amount of £12m. Nevertheless, the Eagles’ fans and not to forget their manager has some huge expectations from him in the upcoming season.
Many raised their eyebrows when Crystal Palace announced the signing of Steve Mandanda from Olympique de Marseille over an undisclosed fee. The French international has made 443 appearances for his former club during his nine-year career and has won one League title and 3 Cup titles. The 31-year old keeper has been named Ligue 1’s Goalkeeper of the Year four times including his last season at Marseilles. He was their first choice keeper since 2007-08 season becoming a regular member of the squad in all competitions which included the Europa League and the prestigious Champions League.
His vast experience under the post will boost the team’s morale whatsoever and the fans can now expect more clean sheets than they did before. His superior shot-stopping ability has been widely acclaimed by critics; now, Pardew will most likely use that advantage to name him, his first choice keeper.
Since his Newcastle days, it has already been noticed that Alan Pardew is a man who likes to invest money on players he thinks crucial for the squad. Three important signings in July and he has already grabbed the attention of the fans and the media with his clever transfer choices and that Crystal Palace is a team to watch out for next season. Although Palace finished their hard-fought season in the lower half of the table, they reached the Cup final against all odds which most probably will motivate and inspire them to play better and finish in the top 10 next season. The Eagles fans can’t wait much longer to see their new heroes in action soon enough!