January Transfer Window -- Right-Back Where We Started

Written by Carl Mortimer

It looks like it's been a disastrous January transfer window, so we asked Carl Mortimer to pick amongst the wreckage.

Benteke jump 

It’s been 7 months and 3 days or, 312,480 minutes or, 5208 hours or, 217 days since we sold our first choice, highly talented right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka for £50m and, to this day, we haven’t replaced him.

And as you’re reading this, that time is going up.

I cannot imagine any other club in the Premier League doing that without having an immediate replacement lined up or having a strategy in place to sign one as soon as the next window had opened.

Not only that, but Palace chairman Steve Parish once said in 2018. “If you stand still, you go backwards”

It’s not just a right-back that is the issue. Palace have needed some players who can score a goal to share the load, and some extra bodies due to this unusual injury crisis.

So, the question is, what do Crystal Palace want to be? Do they want to keep signing 29+ year olds and just getting by year-on-year or, do they have an ambition to build a team full of future stars with massive sell on value a la Leicester who are flipping experts at it?

Watching other teams like Brighton, Southampton, Wolves, Aston Villa and even Brentford having some sort of plan or a future model, by signing young players from around the UK and Europe, becomes a little grating to say the least.

The board and some fans may argue “we’re safely in mid table” and they’re right. However, some could argue back that, with the football being played we are in a false position. Palace were completely outplayed by both Brighton and Southampton at Selhurst, in what were two pretty embarrassing performances where we seriously looked like a newly promoted team -- and yet we’ve been in the Premier League for seven seasons now.

Zaha training

READ MORE: Wilfried Zaha is Crystal Palace's 'bravest' player, says Paddy McCarthy

And, it’s no surprise that we are very likely to lose Wilfried Zaha soon, with the club showing him no reason as to why he should be staying.

It’s clear that the ambitions of this club and Wilf are poles apart. If Palace showed some intent over the last couple of windows and did get (for example) Yannick Carrasco, Jarrod Bowen, Eberechi Eze, Nathan Ferguson, etc Wilf would either be happy to have that quality around him or, he wouldn’t be so missed if he were to leave.

Additionally, we’d have a big sum of money to spend. But given the lack of signings, if he were to leave, Palace have no one that we could look to and say “he can fill the void” again. So is there a plan?

Palace needed a striker, and as a result signed Cenk Tosun on a 5-month loan deal – but this just screams of filling a gap as cheaply as possible. That seems to be our model.

I gave up on the club’s transfer policy in the summer when we sold Wan-Bissaka and no replacement came in. That was just idiotic and pure complacency in my eyes, and that’s why i didn’t expect anything this January.

Key questions still remain; why hasn’t Christian Benteke been moved on yet, and worst still given a new contract? Why was Connor Wickham given another year then shipped out? Why does it take a major injury crisis for Roy Hodgson to play a young, up-and-coming talent?  

Take Jairo Riedwald for example. On that front, Hodgson takes no credit for me. I’ve spoken to many other fans and we’ve said for ages “Jairo could push Patrick van Aanholt and do a job at left back.” I bet that, had Van Aanholt not suffered an injury, we wouldn’t have seen Jairo at all.

Parish used to be very vocal in the media – in in articles, on talkSPORT and on podcasts – but whether it’s the stress of the job now, the Americans causing him grief, or he just can’t be dealing with the aggro of Palace twitter, the silence from a once very vocal chairman is a telling sign that maybe things aren’t as rosy behind the scenes as they once used to be.

Whatever it is, something needs to give because Crystal Palace Football Club are standing still at the moment, and with an ever ageing squad it’ll only be a matter of time before it catches up with us  and we’re left with several players over the age of 30 on big wages that we can’t sell.

I can’t wait for the next window.

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