In the money-obsessed environment of the Premier League, a club’s “net spend” is seen as an easy measure of their success or failure in each and every transfer window. Luckily for Crystal Palace, this summer’s final financial rankings see us occupying a place amongst the league’s lowest overall spenders.
Plenty will remember the bargain-bucket trolley-dash we endured in the summer of 2013, when Ian Holloway and the owners plumped for the “quantity over quality” approach to our transfer dealings but now, in the early stages of what is our fourth consecutive campaign at English football’s top table, we appear to have adopted an entirely different strategy to player procurement.
Having built a squad that was more than capable of retaining their place in the Premier League in recent years, this summer, the board and Alan Pardew took a genuine risk in allowing Yannick Bolasie, Dwight Gayle and Mile Jedinak to fly the Selhurst Park nest, backing themselves to find the necessary quality in the transfer market to strengthen the club’s position ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.
Whilst there will be rightful grumbles over the lack of depth we have in defensive areas following the closure of the transfer window, few if any can argue about the standard of the players we have brought to the club since May, adding four established internationals and a Premier League regular in the shape of James Tomkins to the fold.
It has all provoked a general sense of curiosity and uncertainty amongst the Palace fan-base, many of whom remain wary of the balance within the squad following the departure of the aforementioned trio. On paper, there is nothing to stop the club from pushing for a top half finish once again, but with plenty of supporters still sceptical over the general direction of the side under Alan Pardew, question marks remain over his ability to tease the best out of what is unquestionably the most talented group we’ve had since regaining our place in the Premier League.
Regardless of the pervading sense of self-doubt that has spread throughout our supporter base, I defy you not to be impressed with the “net spend” attached to our business this summer when looking at the table referenced above. We’ve been shrewd to say the least.