You do not need to be a pundit to realise this summer was not our best transfer window. A negative spend of 45 million is not ambitious but we did get a couple of players in before the door closed, and Luka finally got his contract extension.
Of course, we will miss Aaron Wan-Bissaka in our defence. We sold and released some fringe players that could have been useful to us this season. I could go on but the new season starts today at Selhurst so let us look forward rather than talk about what is already done.
Wilfried Zaha is still a Palace player. It is what we all wanted at the start of the window. Yet, putting in a transfer request with 24 hours left of the window was a bad move for all parties. Steve Parish was never going to find a suitable deal that late.
Zaha has now seriously hurt his reputation among the fans that idolised him and defended him to the hilt. It has left a very sour taste in our mouths but he has reportedly returned to training with the right attitude. He is still a Palace player, and he still needs to perform for us if he wants a big move. If he does, we will be fine but I must mention clubs abroad can still make a bid, although it is very doubtful that the owners would entertain that.
Outside of that drama, our biggest problems are at full back. While that is not what we hoped for, I fully expect Tyrick Mitchell to break through to the first team this season. For those who have cried out for years to give academy players some minutes, this might be the most exciting storyline around the club this season. Drawing comparisons to AWB is unfair, but he could realistically challenge for some minutes when he returns to fitness.
Former Chelsea and England defender Gary Cahill, the biggest name in our five summer signings, might be forced into action immediately. The injuries to Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins leave us with Scott Dann, Martin Kelly, Cheikhou Kouyate, Jairo Riedewald and Ryan Inniss as our options at centre back.
I figure he iss at least the third choice on that list for this weekend, but his match fitness is a big question but I expect him to at least be on the bench against Everton. While the same age as Jason Puncheon, he could challenge Tomkins for a first team spot later on this season. Having a leader and a proven winner in the dressing room is surely a good thing.
Our best signing of the window is Victor Camarasa. Cardiff’s Player of the Season last year will be a notable addition to our midfield which was occasionally overrun and failed to provide a creative spark. The Spaniard will hopefully bring us the latter. Another storyline to pay close attention to is how he plays with and compares to Max Meyer. I doubt we will see much of them at the same time in the centre of the park, but that might be an electric combination in early cup matches.
The James McCarthy move is not the most notable, but for as much as we liked to complain about substitutions late in matches last season, we should be celebrating this. Ask any Everton fan about his work-rate – McCarthy will help us see out matches. You might see one of the new midfielders in action with the absence of Jeffrey Schlupp, but I expect a Milivojevic-Ayew-Meyer-McArthur-Townsend midfield to face Everton.
Speaking of Luka Milivojevic, he just signed a new four-year contract. The club announced the contract yesterday, much to the relief of Palace fans after the confusing statement on Deadline Day suggested he was unsettled.
The Stephen Henderson signing is not a good one. It is really not. He struggled to get time at Wycombe Wanderers last season where he was on loan from Nottingham Forest. It is also hopefully one that makes the same difference as the signing of Lucas Perri last season. We will just have to pray that our first and second choice goalkeepers stay fit.
Not much needs to be said about Jordan Ayew. We know the player he is. He is a good squad winger and can be valuable in that role. If we are expecting him to play as a lone striker, that is a different story.
The most important thing is that except for AWB, our core is still here. Sakho, Tomkins, Townsend, Milivojevic, Guaita and Zaha walk into the side every week that will once again battle to stay up this season.
Everything might look different when we turn the calendar to February. For now, support the team, and most importantly, support Roy Hodgson on Saturday. We know he has not been dealt the best hand and has not had money to spend since he arrived.
Roy has handled everything like a true professional. With twice the amount of reasons to turn around and run as Tony Pulis did, he is prepared to move on and so should we.