Every cloud has a silver lining. The summer transfer window of 2017 is a dark cloud with the colourful character of Mamadou Sakho the silver lining.
Now that the transfer window has ben closed for 3 days the euphoria that most fans felt at finally signing Mamadou Sakho from Liverpool but be subsiding a little.
That is not a slight against Sakho who I think is a great signing for the club and someone who will go on to be a legend in the true meaning of the word, if he isn’t already.
No, much like a hormonal teenager, most Palace fans got an over enthusiastic erection on Thursday at the news Sakho was finally signing. After months of a protracted transfer with our Chairman Steve Parish insisting he will not pay £30m, we got out man – for £26m plus £4m add ons.
Well, okay. Officially the fee is ‘undisclosed’ but the world and his wife is reporting the fee to be £26m plus £4m add ons so listing the fee as ‘undisclosed’ is just a way for Parish to hold his head high and say won even though we all know Liverpool won!
Liverpool won because they got the fee they wanted. Of course, we don’t know what the add ons are but I can guarantee they are not unrealistic such as us winning the Champions League or even qualifying for the Champions League. No, the add ons will be realistic such as avoiding relegation or attaining a top half finish.
The big losers in all this? Us. Yes we the fans have had to wait around getting frustrated at the deal not being completed 3 months ago. Nothing has changed in that time. Liverpool wanted £30m. We refused to pay that amount and I am sure we could have struck the deal we have sooner than we did.
So how are we, the fans, losers in this? Because all the focus and attention was on signing one player. We dropped the ball on signing a back up striker (or two), new goalkeeper and a new winger.
We’ve basically sacrificed the start of the season, as we did last year, in order to attempt to get a million off a deal which we would get back through a better league position at the end of the season.
By focusing on the Sakho deal we missed out on other players we enquired about but didn’t have the time to complete. In particular we failed to sign Oumar Niasse after Everton agreed the fee, the player the contract but we could not agree the agent’s fee. Pathetic!
Worse still is that all of our transfer targets appear to be Steve Parish targets rather than manager Frank de Boer’s. Oumar Niasse was a target of ours last summer as a makeweight in the Yannick Bolasie transfer to Everton. It is known Sakho was at the club last season and at least 2 other players mentioned on deadline day have been linked with us in previous windows.
Is it the case that Parish has gone after Sakho while disregarding the manager’s opinion? Isn’t it funny that Frank de Boer was nowhere to be seen when Sakho was unveiled yet Parish was pictured with him. This goes totally against other clubs who have the manager in the frame when a new player signs.
Have we diverted £26m (plus add ons) to a player at the expense of getting in other players just so Steve Parish can have a vanity signing? Personally I don’t think Parish is that type of man but all the evidence is pointing to the contrary.
In fact Guardian sports writer and lifelong Crystal Palace fan Dominic Fifield was particular scathing in his opinion about the clubs transfer activity. He wrote:
“Little makes sense about Crystal Palace’s recruitment strategy. If money is as tight as the outlay suggests, a repercussion of an onerous wage bill, then why was a manager appointed who was always going to try to instigate a radical shift in the style of play? Surely he needed sufficient backing in the marker to achieve such ambitious plans? As it is, Palace are pointless and a club on edge. The pursuit of Mamadou Sakho was protracted and almost a distraction in the end. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jairo Riedewald and Timothy Fosu.Mensah are young and hugely talented but will not be prepared for the scrap that may lie ahead. DF“
Dominic Fifield has a good reputation among Palace fans on Twitter and elsewhere so his scathing review of our summer dealings should be brushed aside as just some journalist trying to be sensationalist about our club, his club.
This time last year I was worried for Crystal Palace in the season ahead. We were lucky that we managed to dig ourselves out of that hole with the help of Sam Allardyce and £40m in the January transfer window.
This year I am genuinely fearful that this will be a season too far.
Something isn’t right at Crystal Palace, and I don’t mean between the manager and the chairman. I suspect the three people who own the club are not all on the same page and should the worst happen and we get relegated then there will be a major clear out and we’ll be back to square one.
Should we be relegated at the end of the season, what would we have to show for our 5 year stay in the Premier League? A new ground? A new stand? A good academy? A good squad?
We’d have none of the above because we’ll need to sell out highest earners and better players.
There are two types of big club that get relegated. There is the Newcastles and the Aston Villas. We are the Blackburn type!