Palace Not The Selling Club Many Expect Us To Be

The sale of talented full back Aaron Wan-Bissaka was the first high profile player to leave the club for a significant fee since Yannick Bolasie.

There was a significant difference in transfers received for both but Bolasie was sold in a summer transfer window along with Dwight Gayle, Alex McCarthy and Mile Jedinak. Those four recouped the club a little shy of £50million combined.

Hopefully this summer Wan-Bissaka will be the only big name leaving the club as we continue to take sharp intakes of break to see if Wilfried Zaha will be in the Palace line-up to face Everton on opening day.

The belief that Palace is a selling club is unfounded in recent years. We have not been quite so used to parting ways with the players that have been at the top of their game for the Eagles.  Before AWB this summer, Bolasie and Gayle before him, we have to go all the way back to Zaha and his move to Old Trafford the season we returned to the Premier League. There was also Andy Johnson although some will consider the sales of Nathaniel Clyne and Victor Moses to be of similar ilk.

Seeing Wan-Bissaka make the move to Manchester United has been a real wrench. He is not the first and certainly will not be the last but we will not see him grow any longer in the red and blue. It is the turn of the United fans to gloat over the right back and his talent, and they have not wasted any time doing it this pre-season. Many have already hailed him as the best right back they have seen for quite some time. The media have bought into that too and there is no doubting Gareth Southgate will do the very same by including Aaron in his first England squad of the season.

It is one thing selling any player for a sizable fee, it is quite another replacing them. It is highly unlikely that same fee is going to shelled out on a replacement, and even more unlikely to be able to replace with as good a talent.

So how does the club go about replacing a young defender that broke into the first team the season before last because of injuries and never looked back?

That is the £45million question but it is likely to be in similar fashion as we have always done.

Palace cannot afford to spend big. More than some teams but nothing like those that are challenging for glory. We have to look to unearth that diamond in the rough, another one like Aaron. Or take a gamble on a foreign import, one that can hit the ground running and impress from game one. Maybe one from outside of the Premier League, there are plenty of players to take a punt on from the Championship and League One even. We did it in the past, we can do it in the future, no reason why not.

It is a cycle that football fans get used to, players arrive, players depart, just the same as managers, coaches and owners. It is a cycle that we have not been as used to as some would expect.

Will we miss Aaron as much as many think? Maybe so, maybe not. Only having one full season under his belt is different to having a player at a club for several years. While Aaron is a special talent, we have not become as reliant on him for as long as we perhaps could have done. It was a fleeting career for the Eagles, but not one that should be swept aside as quickly. He will go down as one of the best right backs the club has seen, and he is in esteemed company. Let’s not kid ourselves, the time we miss him will not be if we don’t replace him properly, it will be kick off on opening day and he is not starting in the right back slot.

A replacement needs to be recruited as Joel Ward, as much as we love him, is simply not a starting Premier League defender. The addition needs to be the right choice and for the right price.

The biggest problem is clubs know there is money in our back pocket being a Premier League club and one that has just sold a player for a high fee. That inflates the price before negotiations begin.

With the frustrations of fans all across social media on the lack of additions so far this summer, it is perhaps the wrong time to suggest that this is not a management game. It is real life dealing with real people for real money. The latter is what the game is all about but that certainly does not make signing players any easier with the ridiculously large sums of money involved. The total spent column proudly adorning screens on Transfer Deadline Day is completely obscene.

There is no doubt the club are working on deals and they have to be the right deals. Palace are not a top six side but on the flip side, are not a Championship side. There has to be a certain amount of safeguarding for the future of the club which must be an extremely fine balance to keep.

The club have often sprung a surprise or two towards the end of previous transfer windows and it could well be the same again. One thing is for sure, to not be as much a selling club as many would have expected is something to be thankful for.


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