The signings of Andros Townsend and James Tomkins may have made the majority of the headlines in recent days, but in Steve Mandanda, Palace have secured an absolute gem of a keeper.
It’s only natural for supporters to hold players from their own domestic league in greater esteem than the majority of those who make their way over from foreign climbs, but it will only take Palace fans a moment or two of browsing the article attached above to become truly excited about what Steve Mandanda will bring to the side next season.
Having only recently turned 31, general footballing wisdom would suggest that Pardew and Palace are getting the Frennch international for what will likely be his prime years in between the sticks, when the experience and mental strength he has gained across the channel won’t be held back by a lack of agility or a slowing in reflexes.
After eight years in Marseille that saw him become a genuinely heroic figure in the eyes of the club’s supporters, the off-field financial issues behind the scenes look to have played some part in the deal which has seen Mandanda swap life in the south of France for SE25, but after proving himself in every way imaginable in Ligue One, it’s understandable for him to want to test his game in the far more competitive environment of the Premier League over the next few seasons.
Collectively, our fans have fallen in love with Julian Speroni in the last decade, but as you can see from the facts and figures disclosed in the piece linked at the top of the page, the signing of Mandanda represents a significant step up in quality from a Palace point of view, with the smart money being put on him leapfrogging Wayne Hennessey in the pecking order ahead of the new campaign.
Unlike so many transfer windows in the past, Palace’s early business this time around has been fantastic, but in luring Mandanda to Selhurst Park for relative peanuts, Steve Parish and co. have arguably pulled off the deal of the summer so far.