Pulis asks Palace for £30m war-chest for second Premier League season
Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis, 4/1 with Coral to record a top 10 finish, has told club co-chairman Steve Parish he wants £30m to spend, after making history by keeping the Eagles in the Premier League.
According to the tabloids, Pulis has identified two players that he feels will strengthen the spine of his side – holding midfielder Steven N’Zonzi from former club Stoke City and Sunderland striker Connor Wickham.
South London side Palace recorded five straight wins before losing to Manchester City in their last outing, but their top-flight status was already preserved by that recent run. No manager had ever kept the Eagles up in the modern era, so Pulis could well be rewarded with the money he wants to take the team forward.
French destroyer N’Zonzi, 25, has been a regular at the Potters under successor Mark Hughes, missing just two Premier League matches so far. Black Cats centre forward Wickham, 21, meanwhile, is in fine form as the Wearside outfit battles relegation.
Five goals in three games from Wickham have helped Sunderland move out of the bottom three, so Gus Poyet’s side have gone from odds-on to go down out to 11/4. He could cost Palace well in excess of £5m.
There are conflicting media reports over the status of out of contract Eagles stopper Julian Speroni, however. Some outlets claim Pulis will allow the long-serving Argentine to leave Selhurst Park, with newly-promoted Leicester City and Sunderland interested.
Elsewhere in the press, reports of a new deal being put on the table has been mooted. Speroni, 34, faces stiff competition from highly-rated Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey – a compatriot of Pulis signed in January.
Several Ian Holloway signings, including midfielders Barry Bannan and Jose Campana (on loan at Nuremberg), play-off scoring specialist Stephen Dobbie (back at Blackpool) and winger Jimmy Kebe (at Leeds United), are set to be moved on.
Also on Pulis’ wish-list is a left back – right-footed Joel Ward has played there in recent matches – and a winger, because there appears to be no prospect of signing Tom Ince permanently.
South Africa midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi is out of contract at Palace this summer, as is Marouane Chamakh, while fellow forward Cameron Jerome should return to Stoke.
Back Palace target Wickham at 12/1 to be a late inclusion in England’s World Cup plans by making the 23-man roster selected by Roy Hodgson for Brazil.