A very different mood is circulating Palace fans this summer. A positive one.
After Patrick Vieira’s managerial appointment in early July, Palace have seen the recruitment of Saïd Aïgoun, a development coach from Paris Saint Germain, as well as the player signings of Michael Olise and Marc Guehi. The arrival of these young talents from Reading and Chelsea, respectively have got the excitement rife in Palace fans and a sense of optimism for the upcoming season.
The summer of change, as some are calling it, is giving our previously repetitive and outdated squad a much-needed reboot. By the end of the 2020/21 season, the Eagles had 11 senior players out of contract, with no manager at that point in time. Big decisions were to be made by chairman, Steve Parish. Contract extensions have been signed by Christian Benteke and Joel Ward, both on two-year deals, while on the other hand, Andros Townend, Wayne Hennessey, Mamadou Sakho and Patrick Van Aanholt are the players to have made official departures from the club.
Summer transfer windows and rumours go hand-in-hand at this time of the year. With the uncertainty of clubs remaining out-of-contract players, Gary Cahill and Nathaniel Clyne are rumoured to have been offered extensions to stay in SE25 for the upcoming season.
The appointment of Vieira is exciting and could bring a new tactical approach to games, as the previous Manchester City Development Squad and Academy manager is not shy of giving those young talents a chance. This could be beneficial following the recent investment in the Academy and the new facilities at the training ground. Vieira is responsible for that gradual, and hopefully successful, transition of those talented players in our Academy Development squad into the first team. Hopefully, this is a chance for the likes of Scott Banks, Rob Street, Jesrun Rak-Sakyi and those other promising talents to be given an opportuniy.
With 7 goals and 12 assists for Michael Olise at Reading last season, he is a promising signing. With the rumoured injury that rules the 19-year-old out until at least late September, Olise should recover and thrive under the new managers system; in which he favours the youth. The Frenchman is someone who can replace Townsend on the wing, feeding the ball up to the likes of Benteke, Zaha and Ayew. Similarly to Eze, once Olise becomes more adapted to the Premier League, he will be able to move over and play more centrally. Becoming a versatile attacking midfielder, he has the ability to cement himself as a great asset to the team.
The arrival of Chelsea academy player Marc Guehi is also an exciting one. Coming from a 2-year loan spell at Swansea, Guehi is a young talented defender looking to establish himself in the Premier League. The 21-year-old has consistently been involved in the England youth squads from U16 up until the U21 squad in 2017. He is one to look out for.
The 2021/22 season is one that you can feel confident about… in moderation. Optimism is the keyword and trusting a new system, in which the changes made were very much needed but this may take time to materialise into results. Patience is a virtue, as they say.
Bring on next season!