Crystal Palace supporters have good reason to be excited for the coming Premier League season. The Eagles, not generally known for efficient or exciting business in the transfer market, are in the midst of a youth revolution in the current window as they seek to improve on last season's 14th-placed finish.
Perhaps the most significant signing chairman Steve Parish has overseen this summer is that of manager Patrick Vieira, who arrives from Nice to take over from Roy Hodgson. The Arsenal legend oversaw a ninth-placed finish last season in Ligue 1. He has immediately received strong backing from the owners in the form of transfer funds, with only Arsenal and Manchester United spending more than Palace's $59 million this summer to date.
Palace has allowed the contracts of several veterans to expire, freeing up significant room on the wage bill. Center backs Gary Cahill, 35, Scott Dann, 34, and Mamadou Sakho, 31, bid farewell to Selhurst Park in addition to 34-year-old goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy. Andros Townsend, Patrick van Aanholt, James McCarthy and Nathaniel Clyne, all 30, have also departed.
As part of a significant overhaul, the Eagles have brought in 21-year-old center back Marc Guehi from Chelsea and signed ex-Lyon defender Joachim Andersen, who spent the 2020-21 campaign with Fulham. Following the Cottagers' relegation, a move to Palace allows the 25-year-old to remain in both the Premier League and the city of London.
Guehi impressed in two loan spells with Swansea over 18 months, appearing 59 times for the Swans and playing a key role as the South Wales side mounted promotion pushes. Despite that, it seemed a long shot Guehi would force his way into the side at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea does not exactly lack depth in defense.
While $27 million may be considered a somewhat steep price for a player with no top flight experience as yet, Palace fans can feel confident about this piece of business given the current market trends and the England U-21 international's high potential.
.Welcome to Palace, Marc Guéhi #CPFC | https://t.co/utMcYSDkhb
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) July 18, 2021
Palace has also repeated last season's raid on the Championship which saw the side sign Eberechi Eze, having snapped up attacking midfielder Michael Olise. The $11 million arrival pulled the strings for the Reading attack last season as he finished with seven goals and 12 assists en route to earning EFL Young Player of the Season honors. The 19-year-old moved to the Reading academy from Chelsea's youth sides in 2015, going on to represent the team 73 times.
The boss on our new recruit #CPFC | https://t.co/utMcYSDkhb— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) July 9, 2021
The latest arrival Vieira and Palace have secured is another from Chelsea, as Conor Gallagher arrives on loan for the 2021-22 campaign. Gallagher shone on loan at Swansea alongside Guehi in the 2019-20 season, scoring six goals and assisting 11 more as he clocked up over 4,000 minutes across 47 appearances. The 21-year-old struggled to match that output last season, suffering from Sam Allardyce's preferred stagnant, risk-free style.
Welcome to Palace, Conor Gallagher #CPFC | https://t.co/utMcYSDkhb— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) July 30, 2021
While it would be wise to wait until the season is under way to judge the true impact of the transfer window, Palace supporters could not have wished for a better start to the summer. A new era will be ushered in this year as the Eagles will take to the pitch under a new manager who has at his disposal exciting young players in whom he is not afraid to place confidence.