Palace fans are, by and large, a relatively sceptical and insular bunch. We know what we like and we like what we know but with less than a week left to run of the summer transfer window and Jordan Ayew the only fee-commanding signing to date, a sense of frenzied if familiar panic has begun to grip our fan-base.
I’m not usually one to trumpet pieces aiming criticism (even of the constructive variety) at those behind the scenes but whilst reading this piece from Seb Stafford-Bloor for Football365, I couldn’t help but nod my head ruefully on numerous occasions, leaving me to wonder exactly what the long-term plan is for our recruitment strategy in the eyes of Steve Parish and Dougie Freedman.
Whilst I and I dare say many others are happy to have the vast majority of the current squad on our books, a look at the average age of the group does leave you feeling a tad worried about what the future has in store. As is pointed out in the piece, the departure of Aaron Wan-Bissaka has left Max Meyer as the only regular first-team player who is still under the age of 25; a fact which could well have far-reaching consequences for our transfer budget in numerous transfer windows to come.
Although football clubs aren’t all expected to tread the exact same path of “best practice”, the example of Bournemouth is a good one, with their squad seemingly far more balanced than Palace’s from year to year. Of course, things have been muddied by Wilfried Zaha’s presence in SE25 for years but even so, the general recruitment pattern isn’t one which hints at big transfer fees coming our way over the next two or three years.
The writer in question does concede that the huge financial reward on offer for maintaining Premier League status will always limit the willingness of clubs like ours to forge a unique path but the overriding message is that our strategy is one which simply isn’t sustainable in the long-term. There is a chance that the players we do end up signing between now and the 8th of August will represent a slightly different approach but by and large, the current crop have a combined re-sale value (Zaha aside) which would leave even the most optimistic of supporters a tad fearful.