He may have only just put pen to paper on a new deal but Palace defender Joel Ward is being linked with a move to West Bromwich Albion this morning, thanks in large part to his personal relationship with Baggies boss Darren Moore.
28-year-old Ward has been on Palace’s books since 2012, playing a key role for the club in both their promotion to the Premier League and subsequent six-year stay but after failing to make it off Roy Hodgson’s bench for the Eagles’ opening day 2-0 victory away at Fulham, Birmingham’s local press are wondering whether or not a bid for his services would be given serious consideration.
Ward knows both Darren Moore and Linvoy Primus through his work with the Christian charity Faith and Football, prompting speculation that a link-up may well be on the cards but at this stage of the season, I struggle to see the Palace hierarchy being all that open to the prospect of letting Ward fly the nest.
Throughout the 2017/18 campaign, Roy Hodgson, Steve Parish and the Palace faithful were aware of our lack of depth in certain areas of the squad; an issue which gave rise to Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s breakthrough into the first-team during the latter stages of the campaign. Now, with Ward and Martin Kelly offering experienced cover for the 20-year-old, it feels as though we’re set for the season.
I dare say Ward himself would love to be starting every week but he’s not a fool and will have seen the quality of performance Wan-Bissaka has been putting in since making his debut in late February as a sign of the need for him to up his game if he has serious hopes of winning back the shirt. If he wasn’t happy about the prospect of sitting behind Aaron in the pecking order I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have put pen to paper on a new deal this summer.
We’ll see how this one develops over the next week or so.