Jack Pierce takes a look at possible left-back targets ahead of the January transfer window.
With Pape Souare unlikely to play again until the last month or two of the season and Martin's Kelly's evident discomfort playing in an unnatural role to him, the left back position has become a huge source of worry for Palace fans in recent weeks. Again, it was highlighted during Saturday's loss and it's surely an area that will be looked at it January.
The options below are fairly obvious and if there's anyone out there has a sensational knowledge of more under the radar left backs from across the continent, then that's great.
Please forward those suggestions to:
Mr A Pardew
But for now, here are my suggestions.
A year ago saw Mauricio Pochettino switch between Davies and Danny Rose very regularly. It's now clear that Rose has become his first choice in that position and while Davies does still get game time, it's significantly less than he was getting. Pochettino clearly wants his team's width to come from his full backs and its perhaps Rose's pace and ability further up the field than has seen him rubber stamp the left back position as his own. Davies took no time in settling in at Swansea as a teenager and adapted to life at a new club very well too. Defensively very sound with a good delivery when going forward, Davies is just the sort of player we should be looking at during our fourth season in the top flight.
Like Davies, Gibbs has found himself second fiddle to a more established colleague. The form of Nacho Monreal in the last two seasons has propelled him into the Spanish squad as well as becoming Arsene Wenger's first choice at left back without question.
Once an England starter, Gibbs is now around fourth or fifth choice and if he wanted to get back into the international squad, then a move away from The Emirates is required. A product of the youth system at Arsenal, it would be a huge jump to leave a club he's been at for so long but perhaps the offer of regular first team, Premier League football, not too far from home, would be enough to tempt him away.
There was a murmur of this in a Dom Fifield piece last week and as much as I would love to see this happen, I just can't. Despite the apparent falling out between Shaw and his manager, Jose Mourinho, are United really going to part with a player so highly rated and with so many years ahead of him?
Assured at this level at the tender age of just 17 at Southampton, United were happy to lay £30 million on the table for Shaw's services and before his horrendous injury, suffered in Eindhoven last Autumn, Shaw was looking like the settled presence at left back that United had sought. All that said, it may be worth seeing if a loan move is a possibility in January should the tension between Shaw and Mourinho still be an issue.
Not exactly the most inspiring suggestion but a player that Alan Pardew clearly rates. Pardew gave him his debut for The Magpies and in at least two of the transfer windows that Pardew has had while at Palace, we've been heavily linked with the Welsh defender to the point I believe a bid was submitted and rejected last season.
Currently first choice left back in a side seemingly on their way back to the top flight at a canter, is he going to want to leave Newcastle? Unlikely but the lure of guaranteed Premier League football, for at least half a season, might be enough to tempt him if Newcastle are willing to part with him.
A product of the highly rated Leeds United academy, Taylor has racked up over 130 first team appearances having only turned 23 in September. 70 of those appearances having come for Leeds and he is now their undisputed first choice at left back. If Leeds are unable to secure promotion come May, the suitors for Taylor will be lining up.
Many a Premier League club have sent scouts to watch the left back and it's expected he'll be a Premier League player sooner rather than later regardless of whether he's at Leeds or not. It's no secret that Taylor tried to force a move away in the summer to the point he handed in a formal transfer request but Garry Monk persuaded the youngster to stay but with his contract due to run out at the end of the season, Leeds may be tempted to cash in on Taylor rather than leave it to a tribunal to set the price they earn come next summer. If that is the case and with our issues at left back, you'd hope Palace would be one of the clubs involved in the scramble for Taylor's signature.
Another name mentioned in the Fifield piece from last week was Tierney's. Celtic's marauding left back has impressed both at home and in Europe this season but at just 19 and with only 50-odd appearances to his name, is he the best solution to a problem position during what looks like a long, hard rest of the season ahead? Perhaps not. That said, if the brief is to sign players with potential at a good price then Tierney is a good option. He's rumoured to have impressed the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City to the point they both have scouts in attendance at most Celtic games watching over the left back.
If the likes of those two are eyeing up a move Tierney next summer, maybe Palace will surprise them and put a bid in come January. During the summer, it was mentioned by a fair few of the Palace faithful that left back was an area that we needed to improve upon, even with Pape fully fit, but the club concentrated on other areas to improve upon. However, circumstances way out of the club's control (and at this point I have to state we should be grateful it's just a leg injury that Pape sustained in such a horror crash) have contributed to it being an almost certainty that a new left back is signed in January. Just who that will be, and whether it's Alan Pardew who brings him to the club, remains to be seen.