Palace Prepare For Life After Zaha With Replacement Incoming

Zaha departs. França likely. Outgoings probable. Incomings certain. Palace transfer plans – somewhat unclear.

At the close of the 2022/23 season, Palace embarked on what was certain to be a summer of uncertainty. There were major questions over the future of club legend Wilfried Zaha, and the direction the club would go with in terms of a manager.

Both of these questions have now been answered but much of the uncertainty remains. With the departure of Zaha, Palace will be forced to go into the market and recruit. Regardless of the Zaha’s future, the club had always intended to recruit a winger this summer with a shortlist of players having been identified. The Eagles are also interested in signing a striker and left back for cover and that interest remains but will likely depend on outgoings. 

The club identified Eddie Nketiah as their number one target to lead the line. Any move for Nketiah will rely on the outgoing of Jean-Phillipe Mateta to aid in facilitating the deal financially. Wingers are top of the priority list following the departure of Zaha and interest in Michael Olise heightening with Chelsea leading the way.

Any move away from the club for Olise is complicated as it is likely he would fail a medical. Matheus França from Flamengo is likely with sources close to the club expecting a fee to be agreed this week. Should Palace sign França, they will look to go back in the market and sign another winger before the end of the window. Callum Hudson-Odoi is a favourite, however, any deal for the Chelsea academy product would be difficult which could see the Eagles move towards signing out of favour Everton winger Demarai Gray. 

Palace could yet still be hit with a major outgoing. With speculation surrounding the future of Joachim Anderson, Marc Guehi, Cheick Doucouré and as already discussed, Michael Olise. It should be expected that at least one of these names will leave the club this summer. However, the outgoing of Doucouré is extremely unlikely considering the asking fee in the region of £70million. Joachim Anderson would also be open to staying at the club although we understand at this stage it is unlikely considering his demands of a new contract with a considerable wage hike. It is important to mention that the club have a list of players for each position that they would approach should there be an outgoing. Therefore, there are already contingency plans in place should there be a major outgoing. 

There is cause to be optimistic though, as Palace have already completed the coup of adding Jefferson Lerma on a free from Bournemouth. This clearly shows the direction of the club by being able to attract such a high quality midfielder for little cost. This intelligent business really bolsters the midfield with the starting three looking to be Doucouré, Lerma and Eberechi Eze.

In terms of potential incomings, the addition of a young Brazilian attack minded player is also one to excite fans. A winger will never replace the void that Zaha has left but Palace need to look to the future and they can now hope that França and another can take the club forward. Should Palace be able to sign Nketiah from Arsenal, then the squad would look in a much stronger position with the new addition competing to lead the line with Odsonne Edouard. 

It is clear that the squad is light on numbers and the outgoings of James McArthur, Luka Milivojovic and Zaha has caused a lack of leadership and depth. But it is hoped that there will be a few more additions this summer as the club look to ready the squad for the new season.

Palace are currently on tour in the USA. Therefore, it is unlikely that any new additions will be able to join up with the squad until they return from Stateside after the game against Europa League winners Seville on 31 July, meaning that preparations for the new season are likely to be a little incoherent.

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