I’ve just finished watching the Netflix series Stranger Things. And a key song kept popping up, “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” And given Crystal Palace’s dire predicament it got me thinking: should we get relegated this season, who will be leaving Selhurst Park?
These are either the players simply too good for the Championship (of which Palace have plenty of, on paper at least), or those on monumental wages; again, Palace have several of those.
£120’000 per week
Regardless of how many goals the big Belgium might score if Palace were to be relegated, he has to be considered a flop.
The £30 million striker has certainly had his moments. But all too often he has struggled to make a definitive impact in a game, often being shut out completely, such as against West Ham and Stoke recently.
If Palace went down to the Championship, however, it seems very unlikely that Benteke would follow them. He is simply too good for the Championship. There were links in January, of a lucrative £40 million move to China, expect them to be revitalised in the summer.
£35’000 per week
Zaha has been nothing short of remarkable this season. A true silver lining to an otherwise dreadful season (so far). And with that in mind, it seems likely that he will leave during the summer, whether Palace stay up or not. He deserves to be playing for a better team than Palace.
Tottenham have been linked with the winger in the past, and if they were to return with another offer, of around £20 million of higher, it would be difficult for both club and player to say no.
£86’000 per week
Another player I am massively fond of. Cabaye was Palace’s first marquee signing since their return to the Premier League (and a good looking one at that). So to have to say goodbye would be upsetting (this is starting to sound a bit weird actually…)
But simply put, he’s another player with too much talent to drop down a division. One of the reasons he initially joined was to link up with Alan Pardew again, with Pardew gone, it seems Cabaye may go as well.
A return to France appears to be on the cards for the midfielder, having recently been linked with Marseille.
£40’000 per week
It’s safe to say that his debut season in England hasn’t quite gone to plan. Another player brought in to send Palace up the league, and has somewhat failed at that.
Although, injury has played a part. When he started for Palace he was undoubtedly very good, despite the odd mistake (cough*Burnley).
Whilst heading back across the channel is probably an option for the goalkeeper, he may want another try in the Premier League. Perhaps he will want to prove himself over here? It’s fair to say that a lot of teams in the Prem would love to have him.
These are those who might attract interest from other teams, but it’s difficult to say whether they will actually leave or not.
£55’000 per week
He was better at Newcastle.
He seemed like a decent signing last June, and has occasionally been brilliant, but has also paled in comparison to Zaha. And frankly just been far too inconsistent.
He still has over 4 years left on his contract, so it’s not unlikely Palace will keep him for the Championship, especially if Zaha leaves. But Rafael Benitez is reportedly keen to sign Townsend back again. If (when) Newcastle get promoted, Townsend might well stay in the Premier League.
£60’000 per week
He used to be touted as a future England defender, now he’s about to continue his record of being relegated with every one of his Premier League clubs (Birmingham and Blackburn).
Whilst I would love to keep him, it seems likely that another Prem club comes sniffing for him. But like with Townsend, he is tied down on a long-term contract. If Palace are serious about bouncing straight back, should the worst happen, then they should beat everyone away with a long wooden stick.
£50’000 per week
I like McArthur, not only has he been a great player for Palace, but even when things go badly (more often that not nowadays), he comes out straight away and apologises. A true class act.
Again, it’s possible several Premier League teams might take an interest in him. His contract only lasts an extra year, so perhaps it would be wise to cash in, especially as Palace have quite a bit of depth in the centre of the park, especially for Championship level.
Who knows, maybe Jordan Mutch could fill the hole left. But I wouldn’t count on it…
Both Wayne Hennessey and Joel Ward deserve a quick spot here. Because whilst neither would slot into another club’s first team seamlessly, they do represent good back up options.
Ward has been nothing spectacular but has simply been consistent (last few matches aside). So it wouldn’t surprise me if someone came knocking for him as a backup option. They could do worse. But that would leave us with Martin Kelly…
And Hennessey, Wales’ No. 1 goalkeeper, who has 100 Premier League appearances under his belt. He’s got experience, and for a goalkeeper he’s still got age, being just 29 years old. I’d personally keep him for the Championship, and maybe beyond. But again, some club may come snooping around for a back-up keeper. That said, if both Mandanda and Hennessey leave, that would just leave us with Speroni. He may be a legend, but he’s nearly past it.
Who Are We Left With?
Palace might still be able to salvage a decent team, even if all the “Certainties” and “Maybes” were sold.
Assuming that is the case, here’s a team that Palace could still field.
That’s not saying that Palace are completely fine. Besides from the clear financial implications relegation brings, there are huge gaps in quality that need to be filled.
Defense – Delaney. In previous seasons, he’s looked immense, but suddenly, he looks his age (I say, as if 35 is incredibly old). But for a footballer, it is. Too often he is caught out at the back, and for that reason, I feel we need a replacement.
Midfield – Centre mid’s are solid, wingers are great, especially with KaiKai (Zaha MkII). My only problem is Puncheon. I don’t understand how he still starts for Crystal Palace, maybe because he has next to no competition, for the attacking midfield role. That needs to change.
Forwards – I’d actually look forward to seeing Connor Wickham lead our lines, if only for a bit before he inevitably gets injured. Then we might be stuck with Frazier Campbell… God help us.