There has been a huge summer of change both on and off the field at Crystal Palace. The South London side have a ninth consecutive season at Premier League level to look forward to, but now face the upcoming campaign under new management whilst experiencing squad overhaul.
An effective retirement for veteran boss Roy Hodgson meant a change of direction for the Eagles. They also had a dozen senior footballers out of contract at Selhurst Park with only Belgium backup frontman Christian Benteke and long-serving defender Joel Ward offered new deals.
Following Hodgson out of the club were goalkeepers Stephen Henderson and Wayne Hennessey, defensive quintet Gary Cahill, Nathaniel Clyne, Scott Dann, Mamadou Sakho and Patrick van Aanholt, midfielders James McCarthy and Max Meyer, winger Andros Townsend and striker Connor Wickham. The squad had been allowed to grow old with their former manager, and the brief for recruitment was young and talented.
Palace have delivered just that for Hodgson’s successor, Patrick Vieira. Best known as the captain of Arsenal’s Invincibles vintage, the former France midfielder is a World Cup winner as a player whose coaching career has yet to reach those sorts of heights.
Vieria’s managerial experience extends to working for Manchester City’s sister club New York City and then a stint in his homeland with Nice. That most recent job ended with the sack before last Christmas. Everyone connected with the Gunners will have a weather eye on how Vieira gets on with the Eagles no doubt.
The remodelling of the Palace defence comes with the arrival of two players with connections to other London clubs. Marc Guehi earned rave reviews on loan with Championship play-off finalists Swansea City last season yet departs Chelsea on a permanent basis for Selhurst Park.
Denmark international Joachim Andersen has high stock after being in the squad that reached the Euro 2020 semi-finals against all odds. If only he can translate that international form to the Premier League after spending last season at relegated Fulham.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) July 28, 2021
Andersen leaves Lyon on a five-year deal with Palace splashing the cash on a new-look centre-back pairing. Despite these fresh faces rejuvenating defence, neither Guehi nor Andersen are proven in the Premier League and the online football betting with 888 Sport has the Eagles prominent at 7/4 for relegation this season.
Vieira also has Reading teenage sensation Michael Olise coming into attacking midfield. A central ink from the engine room to the frontline is something Palace lacked under Hodgson, yet like Guehi he must step up from the Championship. American midfielder Jacob Montes also arrives on a free transfer.
The Eagles also have a new backup keeper in Remi Matthews signed from Sunderland for nothing. With Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher also set to arrive on loan, he will hope a spell at Selhurst will prove more fruitful than his stint with West Bromwich Albion that ended in the drop. Palace must hope all their new names can gel and quickly, otherwise they may struggle.