Steve Mandanda is a man with a fantastic reputation across Europe thanks to his consistent performances in between the sticks, but his cat-like reflexes often help him in everyday life too.
Having made the Marseille number one shirt his own over the last eight years, his efforts over the course of the campaign just gone arguably won him more acclaim from the stands than ever before. Despite a woeful showing throughout the season from most of his teammates, Mandanda was singled out for praise by the Marseille fans in the latter stages of the season, within which he was given the Goalkeeper of the Year award for an unprecedented fourth time by the awarding body of Ligue 1.
Having officially signed on the dotted line at Palace yesterday, Mandanda happily posed with his new club teammate Yohan Cabaye for an Instagram photo yesterday afternoon, no doubt happy to have his long-term future secured after an uncertain period towards the end of the 2015-16 domestic calender. Evidently, if Yohan’s excessive use of hashtags on said photo is anything to go by, the midfield maestro was as happy as anyone with the news of our latest permanent arrival.
Whilst he may not have been given the chance to shine for his country at Euro 2016 thanks to the ominous presence of Hugo Lloris, few would disagree that Mandanda’s presence in South London represents a genuine step up in quality, given the extremely well-rounded attributes the 31-year-old possesses.
We may now have four professional goalkeepers on the books at Selhurst Park, but with Mandanda 99.9% certain to start the new Premier League season as Alan Pardew’s number one, it seems highly likely that we’ll be waving goodbye to at least one familiar face before the summer is over.