Can Patrick Bamford be a prolific force for Crystal Palace?
As Chelsea-owned striker Patrick Bamford prepares to embark on his first Premier League loan with Crystal Palace (6/4 chances for a top 10 finish), Coral writers consider whether the 2015 Championship Player of the Year can step up a level.
— Crystal Palace FC (@CPFC) July 21, 2015
The youngster, who previously starred in temporary stints in England’s second tier with Derby County and Middlesbrough, striking 17 league goals for the latter, has a limited window in which to prove his worth to the Blues.
Premier League champions Chelsea (8/5 to retain that title), notorious for stockpiling then selling promising youth, do not have space to develop Bamford, despite his brilliance for Boro last term, instead preferring to draft in out-of-form Radamel Falcao.
While the decision to opt for a faded power says much about the Stamford Bridge youth policy, it should not reflect poorly on prolific Bamford’s potential. In fact, this move could pay-off for the 21-year-old, who began his career in Nottingham Forest’s academy.
There appears to have been a quiet tussle for the sought-after sharpshooter’s services, with Palace and Alan Pardew apparently staving-off competition from the likes of Newcastle United and Sunderland.
As the ambitious Eagles, who finished in an excellent 10th Premier League position after Pardew arrived to steady the ship, are unlikely to become embroiled in a relegation battle, the comparably calm pressures of mid-table could allow Bamford to thrive.
Capped twice for the England Under-21s, fledgling forward Bamford may have little chance of senior international recognition with Euro 2016 fast approaching. Should the starlet shine at Selhurst Park, however, he could certainly find himself in Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions thoughts for the future, as surprise call-ups such as Charlie Austin have proven in the recent past.
Until then, Bamford would be unlucky not to attract more of Gareth Southgate’s attention in the Under-21s, with Saido Berahino and Danny Ings jostling for promotion in the footsteps of freshly capped Harry Kane.
With a point to prove to his parent club who, to be fair to Chelsea, have resisted what would have been an understandable urge to retain Bamford on the Stamford Bridge bench, Palace can benefit from the striking starlet’s hunger.
Catch a glimpse of Bamford’s goal threat:
Yet to make his Premier League debut, the deadly former Boro dangerman, who can also do a job on the flanks if required, will be confident of challenging the quartet of Fraizer Campbell, Marouane Chamakh, Dwight Gayle and Glenn Murray, who bagged only 18 league goals between them last term.
Is Bamford the goal machine who can provide that, or a similar tally, by himself? The young-gun certainly has the ceiling, but the rigours of Premier League football have hampered prolific Championship predators before, so patience will be required by Pardew.
It remains to be seen whether a loan is a precursor to a permanent move, with Diego Costa, Falcao and Loic Remy in Bamford’s way at the Bridge, and Mourinho championing younger peer Dominic Solanke. It is conceivable that space could open up in West London next summer, however, with Remy already on the ropes and Falcao seemingly a stop-gap.
Either way, it is good news for both clubs, and England fans, that Bamford could now be allowed space to breathe and finally announce his talent to the top flight.