Wow, what an incredible summer transfer window for the Premier League we have just witnessed. What started with an incredible Euro 2020 campaign by the Three Lions, ended with some of the worlds biggest players and clubs making incredible moves in what can only be described as a real life FIFA Ultimate Team battle.
Messi to PSG, Ronaldo, Varane and Sancho to United, Grealish to City, Lukaku to Chelsea – nobody could have predicted the unpredictability!
Likewise, no Palace fan could have ever predicted that we would have a manager as well recognised as Patrick Vieira as well as the quality of signings when the window opened.
We knew there was going to be a big shake up, with established older players leaving and freeing up space for fresh talent to join the Red & Blue ranks. It’s always hard to see long term players depart; Scott Dann, Patrick Van Aanholt, Mamadou Sakho, Andros Townsend and others all played a vital role in getting Palace into this extremely promising position, entering our 9th consecutive season in the Premier League! Some of our younger fans probably weren’t even born when Palace were signing Darcy Blake for £350,000 and fans being impressed at the level of investment.
Still, that was then, this is now. Here is TEB’s round-up of what has been an exciting summer transfer window for the club;
Marc Guehi (£20m)
Our most expensive signing of the summer is a central defender established in the Chelsea Academy, probably most famous for producing the highest volume of academy players never to play for their respective first team.
Guehi is a strong and imposing force who made his mark on loan at Swansea City last season, where he made 45 appearances including 2 man of the match performances in the play-off semi finals with their final game at Brentford ending in defeat. He worked his way through the academy ranks at Chelsea from the age of 8, which, despite my petty jab earlier, is one of the top academies in the country.
Guehi is eligible for both England and Ivory Coast, as he was born in Abidjan but has represented England at U16 through to U21 level and is a part of the golden era of English youth that started with the U17 World Cup win in 2017. He is an exciting prospect with years of football ahead of him to grow and prosper with the potential to go on and become one of the top centre-backs in the division.
Joachim Andersen (£15m)
Our two most expensive signings of the summer are centre-backs, which shows how much we needed to strengthen after some fragile defensive performances last season and the loss of some key defensive players whose contracts had expired.
Andersen is best known as Fulham’s stand out performer in their ultimately unsuccessful stint in the Premier League last season, as well as his performances in Euro 2020 this summer. At 25 he is our second oldest summer signing; purchased from Lyon, with stints at Sampdoria and FC Twente, Andersen is also our most experienced signing who can adapt to Vieira’s new playing style.
Whilst not prolific, Andersen has scored in his previous two campaigns, including against Leeds United last season, so whilst we probably won’t need to get the goal machine chants out just yet, he adds a much needed depth of experience and quality in the heart of our defence.
Odsonne Édouard (£14m)
What a steal this is!
We’ve had our eyes on Édouard for a while and have been linked with him on many occasions, but this year we’ve got our man. Established at PSG’s academy with 67 professional goals across 5 seasons, on paper it seems our scoring challenges may be a thing of the past.
Prolific for both Celtic and the French International team at U16 through to U21 level, Édouard brings a touch of class to our front line and is likely to establish himself as our go to striker in place of Christian Benteke and Jean-Philippe Mateta, both of whom seem to be struggling finding the net on a consistent basis.
Édouard really made a name for himself at Celtic, over 3 years scoring 1 goal every 140 minutes of football giving him one of the best strike rates in the Scottish Premiership. Hopefully any lingering doubts about whether he is good enough for the English Premier League will soon be put to bed.
Michael Olise – £8m
Okay, so if Édouard is a steal, this is a full on robbery.
An outlay of £8m for the EFL Young Player of the Year 2021 – just how have we managed that!?
Olise was been with Reading for 5 years, impressing in their academy before graduating into their first team in 2019. Since then, he has racked up 67 appearances and netted on 7 occasions. Last season he lit up the Championship with some breathtaking performances and trickery, does that ring any bells?
It should, because Eze was doing the same thing for QPR the season before, and he stood out as one of our best players last season, no doubt Olise is a statement of intent and the hope is that he can go on to do the same thing. Playing either centrally or out wide, Olise adds another dangerous threat to our attacking line up and I can’t wait to see how he gets on in the Red & Blue.
Will Hughes (£6m)
Some background information here, I have been watching Will Hughes for many years. The reason? I was studying at Derby University just as Hughes was breaking through the ranks at Derby County, and had the opportunity to watch him play on multiple occasions.
At the time, he reminded me a little of Jonny Williams (despite being over 6ft tall!); light on his feet, with a deft touch and a great mind for the game. At one point, tipped as one of the hottest prospects in the English game, over time, the hype around Hughes faded, but his quality has not. Despite playing at a lower level with Watford last season following their disappointing relegation from top flight football, he impressed with his quality, possession based play.
In need of a greater challenge at a higher level, and with our requirements for stability and quality in midfield, Hughes is a good matchup for Palace, and whilst unlikely to go down as our top signing this summer, is likely to prove an astute appointment by Vieira.
Conor Gallagher (Loan)
Another player who impressed on loan amongst a doomed campaign to stay in the top flight with West Brom last season, Conor Gallagher is a prime example of great recruitment by Palace.
Despite the fact this is a season long loan, with Chelsea figuring Gallagher will likely feature in the future for them, Palace represents another step up in this youngsters flourishing career which has so far seen him appear for Charlton Athletic, Swansea and West Brom as well as England at youth level form U16 through to U21, featuring in the same squad as Guehi.
Fast, quick thinking and with an incredible mind for the game, Gallagher has scored Palace’s only two goals of this season, one of which involved a mind blowing Cruyff turn in the penalty area against high flying West Ham.
With an impressive work rate and past experience in the top flight, Gallagher represents another example of recruiting for the future and sums up what has been a simply brilliant window for Palace.
Now all we need is for these new signings to get out there and show us what they can do!