Amidst all the talk of Wilfried Zaha angling to leave Crystal Palace this summer, a piece from The Guardian’s Dominic Fifield has detailed the six first-team players who are set to walk away from the club this summer; leaving Dougie Freedman and the rest of the Eagles’ backroom team with rather significant gaps to plug.
The likes of Julián Speroni, Jason Puncheon, Bakary Sako and Pape Souaré are all set to fly the nest having reached the end of their contracts at Selhurst Park, whilst Norwegian international Alexander Sørloth looks odds on to be sold after a moderately successful six-month loan spell with Belgian side Gent. Alongside that, Palace are thought to be open to offers for former Ajax man Jairo Riedewald, who has consistently struggled for minutes under the management of Roy Hodgson.
Whilst none of the names mentioned above were regular starters in the 2018/19 season, the sheer loss of bodies will leave Palace looking rather light on the ground when pre-season training resumes in July. Of all six, it’s probably only Sako, Sørloth and Riedewald who would need replacing directly over the course of the summer window but even so, it will leave the club’s recruitment staff with a rather busy schedule ahead of the Premier League kick-off in early August.
With money tight in south London thanks to a hefty wage-bill, these departures should relieve the immediate pressure to some extent but as soon as thoughts turn to new faces, it may prove tricky without at least one high-profile sale. Zaha and Wan-Bissaka are the most obvious candidates in the minds of neutrals but with club captain Luka Milivojevic supposedly stalling in talks over a new deal, could we see him shipped out to free up funds for a selection of new rotational options?
Each and every summer feels hectic at Palace but with the managerial situation as calm as it’s been in years, this feels as though it could be a time for us to truly kick on if we can keep the core of the current cohort together. Only time will tell.