There is no doubting the transfer window left a lot to be desired from a Palace perspective and while we all sit here behind a keyboard apportioning blame left, right, and centre, where does the buck stop?
Forgive the Americanism there, it was done on purpose as believe it or not, we do have American owners. I know, it is hard to believe it as they are pretty silent and rarely seen.
Back on topic though, and the wholesale activity in the opening month of the year is beginning to see a transition. Gone are the days where their is a flurry of activity and large sums thrown around, there seems to be a reluctance to look desparate and just made the odd addition here and there to fill needs.
Looking at the Premier League, there were a few clubs that did not dip their toes into the water this time around.
Let us take a look at the business Palace undertook that has caused so much dismay among the fanbase.
- Cenk Tosun (Everton) – loan
- Scott Banks (Dundee United) – undisclosed fee
- Sam Woods (Hamilton) – loan
- Gio McGregor (Dartford) – loan
- Dion Curtis-Henry (Hampton & Richmond) – loan
- Scott Banks (Alloa) – loan
- James Daly (Bristol Rovers) – loan
- Jason Lokilo (Doncaster Rovers) – loan
- Connor Wickham (Sheffield Wednesday) – loan
Firstly, we would like to wish James Daly all the best for the future after joining up with former Palace coach Ben Garner at Bristol Rovers. We will watch his progress with interest. We will also keep a keen eye on those youngsters that have been sent out on loan for the rest of the season, game time for them is important and they are not getting that in South London at the moment.
Can we be honest for a second? Those transfer dealings by Palace, while not headline making, were pretty much like for like. Turkish striker Cenk Tosun has arrived and takes the place of Connor Wickham who has been shipped out to Sheffield Wednesday.
The suggestion that the squad has been weakened this month is a little exagerated as the players that have left and loaned out were nothing more than being on the fringes and hardly going to feature other than the odd place on the bench.
We can all bemoan the failure to bring in a new full back but it was not for the want of trying – West Brom’s Nathan Ferguson failed a fitness test on deadline day due to a knee injury that is likely to require surgery. Elsewhere there was very little to talk about and whether we were ever really showing interest in Yannick Carasc, Jordan Ibe and Jarrod Bowen, only those at the club will know.
A lot has been said about potential problems behind the scenes with the rumour that the American owners are actively looking to sell. That alone would explain a reluctance in both the summer window as well as this one, but there has to be an element of protecting their asset – Palace as a Championship club will not be as profitable to sell as a Premier League club. Thankfully, Josh Harris and David Blitzer appear a long way from stripping the club of their assets as there is a sense that they are better than that.
As for Palace and transfer windows, it would not be the first time the club have appeared disorganised and we may never know the reality of what goes on. Steve Parish and Dougie Freedman have had their fair share of criticism this month, as well as back the summer, but it is clear that signing players is not as simple as it is on FIFA or Football Manager games.
Looking elsewhere, and going back to the original point, there now seems to be a reluctance in January by clubs to do a lot of business. Most Premier League clubs had more outgoings that incomings – Aston Villa, Sheffield United and Wolves had the most incomings while Bournemouth, Manchester City and Chelsea did not have any new faces arrive. Eight other clubs had one or two new additions which goes to support the fact that the dynamic of the January transfer window is changing.
Of course, we are all aware that Transfer Deadline Day is a media wet dream, driven so hard by the big sports media companies and 24 hour coverage whips fans up into a frenzy about the lack of signings or a simple link to this player and that player. It is easy to get caught up in the madness and there are a ridiculous amount of fake links to players for all clubs.
However, that should not disguise the fact that Palace failed to fill round holes that are being filled by square pegs. Roy Hodgson has been clear about the requirements for the squad but that has not come to fruition and while a lesser manager would give up there and then and walk, Hodgson is too much of a gentleman for that.
Perhaps with an eye on players returning from injury combined with a very good first half of the season, there was sense to keep the powder dry until the summer, and you could understand that thought process, particularly if the right players were not available at the right price or clubs playing hard ball – something that is very common during this transfer window.
Regardless, the window is done and there is no point harping on about it. There has to be a touch of realism in terms of what we expect of our club. We were not the only club with needs that did not fill the gaps, you only have to look at other club hashtags on social media to see that the fans frustration is very similar indeed.
There are 13 league games remaining of the 2019/20 season and as Bob White always tells us, it is 10 wins that are needed to survive a season, we have 7, so 3 more to go to get us over the line before what could be a busy summer for the club.
Up the Palace!