Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has been open about his desire to bring in a new striker during the January transfer window but when asked for his thoughts on Sunderland frontman Josh Maja this weekend, the 71-year-old bizarrely insisted that he’d never heard of him.
With the gaffer’s selection of Alexander Sørloth from the start against Grimsby having failed to pay off with goals, he was forced to deploy both Connor Wickham and Jordan Ayew from the bench with the latter finally getting the all-important winner in the final few minutes but when quizzed as to whether or not the Black Cats’ hotshot Maja could be the answer to our goalscoring struggles, Roy’s response was simply bizarre.
In some ways, I admire his honesty in stating that, as Palace boss, he concentrates primarily on drilling his own team and as such doesn’t follow Sunderland but with the Eagles having been linked to Maja for the last week or two, you’d think that Hodgson would at least be aware of the 20-year-old’s existence. It it’s a bluff in order to throw the press off the scent of our genuine interest, it’s a bold tactic, as Roy would be gambling on the assumption that Maja himself wouldn’t take offence; either way, it leaves Palace open to a degree of ridicule.
It could well be that Maja isn’t and never has been a target for us but given his age, goalscoring form, locality (he was born in Lewisham) and the fact that he played for us as a very young teenager, it’s a link which makes a great deal of sense at first glance, all of which leaves me feeling rather disappointed by Hodgson’s comments.
Who knows? He may have gone away from the press conference in question, done his own research on Josh and concluded that he would in fact be a perfect signing for us but more than likely, he’ll continue to be steered by the club’s scouts whilst he continues to concentrate on the coaching of the first-team. He’s seldom been one to rock the boat and is unlikely to change the habit of a lifetime in what is almost certain to be his final managerial role in SE25.
Should anything change, I’ll be sure to let you know.