Crystal Palace have been making moves this summer. The Eagles reached the FA Cup final last season but Alan Pardew knows that they needed to sign at least two or three new players to become an outside chance for a top eight finish ahead of the new campaign – and that’s exactly what Palace have done.
We take a look at Steve Mandanda, James Tomkins and Andros Townsend and discuss the qualities that each player will bring to Selhurst Park next season.
Former Marseille goalkeeper and France international Steve Mandanda will provide stern competition for Palace number one Wayne Hennessey. In fact, Mandanda’s experience at the top level could see him displace the Wales star as Pardew’s preferred shot stopper but only time will tell. Either way, he’s a fantastic signing and will bring plenty of experience and respect – both on and off the field.
On his day, Mandanda remains an exceptional talent. A few years ago, he was linked with various moves to a number of top Premier League clubs but nothing ever materialised and he stayed to ply his trade in France.
But now, Palace have finally convinced him to move to England – and on a free transfer too. Mandanda’s signing was made all the more impressive as the Eagles reportedly held off interest from Antonio Conte’s Chelsea; a sign that suggests that Palace’s FA Cup run has given them more influence in the transfer market.
The 27-year-old made the switch across London as he left Slaven Bilic’s West Ham for an estimated fee of around £10 million in a deal that benefited both parties. Palace now have another immensely talented central defender and Tomkins stood out on his Eagles debut as they recorded a clean sheet against Philadelphia Union on their pre-season tour of the United States.
Tomkins isn’t a world class talent but he is a competent defender and his organisation and leadership skills will prove useful alongside Scott Dann at the back. The former Hammers star could well mature into a real fan favourite at Selhurst Park; particularly if he continues to grow and blossom into a reliable Premier League defender.
Palace now have a fantastic corps of talent at the back and Pardew’s men will look to build their success around a tight defensive unit next season. The Eagles are one of the most dangerous sides on the counter-attack and could climb into the top half of the Premier League table IF Tomkins and co stay organised…
And last but not least, Andros Townsend. The former Newcastle United winger wanted to leave St James’ Park after the Magpies were relegated and Palace swooped to trigger his release clause with a bid of around £13 million. On his day, Townsend is still a fantastic talent and Pardew may be the man to get the best out of him – especially as he is still only 24 years old. He has a lot to learn but he has plenty of potential…
Townsend was harshly snubbed by Roy Hodgson for Euro 2016; especially as Manchester City man Raheem Sterling was included after a dreadful campaign. Palace’s new winger is quick, has incredible control and balance, and he is capable of rifling a 25-yard effort into the top corner of the goal. £13 million could turn out to be a real bargain.
Only time will tell but Townsend is perhaps the most exciting of Palace’s signings so far. As of July 18th, rumours are still circulating over their supposed interest in Christian Benteke and Townsend could benefit from a physical target man. With Wilfried Zaha, Yannick Bolasie and now Townsend in wide areas, Palace are set to cause plenty of problems down the flanks next season – and their new signing could make the biggest impact of all.