Winter window manifesto for Crystal Palace European spot
Matt Haynes | December 30, 2015
Crystal Palace are 5/2 with Coral for a top six Premier League finish and they have no doubt exceeded everyone’s expectations this season, currently fifth and four points off a top four place.
January key for Eagles
If Palace are to maintain their form for the rest of the Premier League season, then what they do in January is fundamental. Manager Alan Pardew has show in the past that he is astute at dealing in the transfer window.
His signings in the summer have so far proved pivotal, especially in the case of Yohan Cabaye, who he brought back to the Premier League from PSG, having recruited and managed him while in charge of Newcastle United.
While Palace do have a strong core, which includes a solid defensive partnership of Scott Dann and Damien Delaney, with James McArthur and Cabaye providing a solid base just in front.
Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha are key elements from the wide areas, giving the Eagles plenty of attacking guile when in full flight.
However, it is up front that could pose the main conundrum for Pardew. Having sent Patrick Bamford back to Chelsea, cutting his loan stint short, they still don’t have a prolific scorer, despite Fraizer Campbell and Dwight Gayle showing plenty of promise.
Who can strike it right for Palace?
QPR’s Charlie Austin was reportedly wanted by the Eagles in the summer, as well as a raft of clubs and he could well be the centre of attention once more.
Having adapted to life in the Premier League effortlessly with the Hoops, Austin is just the type of player the Eagles need and he would fit right in.
Another forward currently linked is Chelsea’s Loic Remy, though this poses a couple of interesting viewpoints. If Roman Abramovich is willing to part with cash to strengthen the side once more with attackers, Remy could be convinced to move on, especially to a side who match his ambitions and are well positioned.
Pardew, meanwhile, managed Remy when he took him on loan while in charge of Newcastle, so the opportunity to reunite with his former boss might well make his decision easier and there is no doubt that he would be a quality addition for the Eagles and give them much-needed firepower for an assault on the top four.
Add more depth
Another Achilles heel for Palace is perhaps their lack of strength in depth and this could severely hamper the squad if they pick up injuries.
Therefore, adding a sprinkling of experience may just do the trick. With Atletico Madrid reportedly set to sign Augusto Fernandez from Celta Vigo, as well as recalling Matias Kranevitter, may mean that a loan move for former Chelsea midfielder Tiago Mendes could cross Pardew’s mind.
Central defence also represents a worry for Palace, with only Brede Hangeland realistically their other option. Steven Caulker has been linked, and Pardew could be the manager to get the best of him, with the 24-year-old having shown plenty of promise in the past.
With the Eagles establishing a relationship with PSG last summer, when they signed Cabaye for a modest sum, a loan move for 20-year-old defender Presnel Kimpembe would allow him to gain vital experience as well as adding another option to the Palace squad.
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