Each summer, a selection of players reach the end of their contracts with the club and 2019 will prove to be no different. Thankfully, the upcoming raft of contract talks don’t involve any guaranteed starters but there are some real fans’ favourites on the list.
Amongst the six players set to see their time with the Eagles come to an end are Jonathan Williams, Jason Puncheon and Julian Speroni, three men who many immediately think of when asked to conjure up images of those who truly love pulling on a Palace shirt.
Williams has been a professional on our books throughout the period in which Steve Parish and co. have had control of the club, becoming known as one of the nicest men in football along the way. Sadly, various injuries have hugely hampered any chance of him winning a place back in the side, with his fine displays for Wales not being enough to see him jump above the likes of Milivojevic, McArthur or Kouyaté in the midfield pecking order. Now, after a long spell of goodwill, the smart money seems to be on Jonny parting ways with Palace in the summer, even though we’d all love nothing more than to see him succeed in SE25.
For Jason Puncheon, a parting of the ways would bring to a close a stint in which he’s played a huge part in Palace’s Premier League history, coming onto our books during our first season back in the top flight and staying put ever since. The local boy has scaled real heights at Selhurst, scoring massive goals, Norwich and Tottenham at home under Alan Pardew immediately come to mind, as well as the now soured strike in the FA Cup Final of May 2016 against Manchester United. Just like Williams, Punch now finds himself out of the manager’s midfield plans, meaning that a move may be the best thing for both parties.
Last but certainly not least of that trio is Julian Speroni, a man whose name will now be synonymous with the history of Crystal Palace FC for the rest of time as we know it. Now 39, the Argentine has been a permanent fixture in south London for 15 years, joining the team under the management of Iain Dowie back in 2004. Despite a rocky start to life in between the sticks, the former Dundee man eventually settled in well and now stands as the goalkeeper with more appearances than any other in the club’s 114-year history. Sadly, time waits for no man and with Vicente Guaita and Wayne Hennessey now vying for the number one spot under Roy Hodgson’s guidance, it’s hard to see Jules being given a new deal.
The summer of 2019 looks likely to be the end of an era at Selhurst Park, albeit one with a lifetime of happy memories to look back upon.