Crystal Palace Transfer Activity Pivots to Address Goal Drought

Written by Robert Sutherland

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Crystal Palace's transfer activity is, from everything that's been reported so far, focused almost exclusively on the recruitment of attacking players, addressing the stark need for goals in a side that scored one of the lowest tally of goals last season.

While the story of last season centered around the pandemic and the club's subsequent run of seven defeats in a row, it doesn't take much analysis to realise that Palace's failings are in attack. The Eagles conceded just 50 goals last season, less than Chelsea who conceded 54, which gave them the 10th best defence in the league overall. 
Prior to the lockdown, Palace sitting in 12th had conceded just 32 goals -- making them the 6th best defensive team in the league at that stage. But with just 31 goals scored all season -- only five more than rock-bottom Norwich City -- it's clear where the recruitment needed to be made.
Roy Hodgson's side have been linked with a number of different players, the majority of which are in attacking roles. Eberechi Eze, the young QPR attacker who scored 14 goals last season, is likely to be the first signing for the club since they confirmed Nathan Ferguson's arrival, and if reports are to be believed, he could be the first of a few. 

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Palace have been linked with Ryan Fraser, the former Bournemouth winger, as well as Chelsea youngster Connor Gallagher and Mainz striker Jean-Philippe Mateta in recent weeks. There have also been some tentative reports of moves for Watford winger Ismaila Sarr and Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard -- transfers which would make Palace's attacking threat infinitely better. Contrast this with players in non-attacking roles -- of which only three linked players fit into that category -- and you can really see a clear focus. 
With the start of the season nearing but the end of the transfer window still more than a month away, the potential for moves to happen during the early season is significant. International transfers will have to be concluded by the 5th of October. Premier League and EFL clubs will then be able to complete moves until the 16th of October.
The priority for Palace is to recruit players rather than to sell them, and while outgoing moves are likely, they should only take place once sufficient incoming signings have been completed. The club must avoid another scenario where they don't have enough players to complete the minimum 25-man squad -- failure to do so will only weaken the manager's hand as he aims to keep the club out of a relegation fight.