The writing has been on the wall for months now but if recent reports in France are anything to go by, Steve Mandanda’s Palace career will end when this season draws to a close.
Despite arriving on these shores with a fantastic reputation, the French international has never found his feet in the Premier League, with an early run of games being brought to an end by a knee injury from which he has seemingly never fully recovered.
Whilst the Eagles’ faithful have been hugely split over the continued presence of Wayne Hennessey in between the sticks, neither Alan Pardew or Sam Allardyce have seen fit to drop the Welshman in favour of Mandanda and with Julian Speroni now just a couple of weeks away from his 38th birthday, you can be almost certain of a major reshuffle in that position over the summer regardless of the division we’re plying our trade in.
It’s a real shame to see a goalkeeper with a reputation as solid as Mandanda’s struggling so much to adapt to life in the UK but from a personal perspective, I can’t hold too big a grudge against him. All too often these days, football fans view the players who represent them as nothing more than highly paid robots but it’s worth remembering that they all have lives to lead away from the pitch. Time and again we’ve been told that “homesickness” has forced Mandanda into angling for a move back to the south of France and in reality, we would be best served by granting his wish rather than keeping him in SE25 against his will.
It’s easy to fret over who we would find to take over the long-term role of Palace’s number one in the current climate but I for one have total faith in Big Sam and his coaching staff finding an adequate replacement over the summer, leaving me to hope that Hennessey can guide us through these last three Premier League games without disaster striking.
It would have been great for Mandanda to have hit the ground running in South London but the best laid plans of mice and men often go away.