Summer shopping: five players Pardew can pick for Crystal Palace
Safe from relegation and sitting one point above former club Newcastle United, Alan Pardew, currently the crown prince of Crystal Palace (4/1 for a top 10 finish with Coral), would certainly have reason to be smug.
So, with Palace’s Premier League status now all-but safe, the Selhurst Park side are apparently already preparing a shopping list for summer.
Speaking recently, Pardew stated: “The most important thing is to try to trade well. With the Premier League – if you are fighting and battling until the last game, you are missing out because other teams can start putting packages together and working on players to come in. That is what we will do now.
“We are pretty secure in approaching clubs and players that we are a Premier League side and have the finance to do what we say we are going to do. So it does give us a slight advantage.”
This got Coral writers thinking about who the Eagles may have their eye on. Here’s what we came up with:
Goalkeeper: Jack Butland
With Stoke City supposedly set to offer Asmir Begovic a new contract, the time could be right for Pardew to pounce for Butland.
Confined to making only cup appearances for the Potters this campaign, Birmingham-born Butland must surely be getting itchy feet, especially after another taste of the England senior squad.
The talented custodian would surely command a high fee, but shoring up Palace’s posts for the long-term would be worth the risk, if Stoke can be convinced to sell.
Centre back: Virgil van Dijk
Composed Celtic centre half star Van Dijk is supposedly on many a top tier club’s hitlist this summer, with Palace apparently forming part of an orderly queue. Capturing the tactically astute Dutchman would be a coup for the club and Pardew’s preference for technical players should him him slot straight in to Selhurst.
Should Van Dijk prove too difficult to lure to London, the Eagles could do worse than to run the rule over Steven Caulker. Once highly-rated, the QPR starlet’s stock has fallen, but the youngster has potential and could be available for a cut price fee.
Defensive Midfielder: Stephane Mbia
Reports suggest Pardew could be willing to take a punt on Sevilla star Stephan Mbia, who played a vital part in the Bathtubs’ Europa League success last season.
Still a regular in Spain, the former QPR flop apparently wants to give the Premier League another crack and could be snapped up for free.
Powerful and energetic, Mbia would certainly help shore up the Selhurst Park side next to skipper Mile Jedinak, and allow Palace to dominate more in midfield.
Attacking midfielder: Victor Moses
The Eagles are already well-stocked on the wing, but Pardew’s playing style relies heavily on the guile, width and forward thrust of Yala Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha. Another option, particularly one as adaptable as Nigeria international Moses, would not go amiss.
A Palace academy product, the 24-year-old has had a mixed time since leaving Selhurst Park, but could come full circle and become a hometown hero again.
Striker: Jordan Rhodes
Apparent target and Chelsea outcast Loic Remy may have been at his best under Pardew’s instruction at St James’ Park, but still seems a luxury option, and may be just out of Palace’s grasp.
Rampant Rhodes, who has struck 16 times this term, looks up for grabs this summer though, with the striker’s Blackburn Rovers future uncertain.
There will almost certainly be a race for the potent forward, but Pardew could steal a march on his rivals by offering reliable scorer Rhodes guaranteed Premier League football. The striker would surely thrive on the Eagles’ exciting wing play and forward thinking.