Crystal Palace Football Club
Nickname: The Eagles
Best Premier League finish: 10th (2014/15)
Last season’s finish of 11th was Crystal Palace highest since their best in 2014/15. Although, finishing comfortably above the relegation zone can be considered surprising considering the Eagles began the campaign with nine defeats in their opening eleven fixtures. Similar problems have persisted as Roy Hodgson’s side appear dangerously short of goals once more this season, the 19 they’ve scored is the joint third lowest in the division.
Luka Milivojevic has converted 18 goals since his arrival in 2017, 14 of which have come from the penalty spot, he was Palace’s top scorer last season and is currently set to repeat that this term. It’s been evident for an extended period of time that recruitment is required in the form of a new striker, Hodgson has even adopted a variant of the four four two formation with Wilfred Zaha and Andros Townsend leading the attack.
Top 5 Record Transfer Fees: (04/02/19)
- Christian Benteke – £27 million (from Liverpool – August 2016)
- Mamadou Sakho – £26 million (from Liverpool – September 2017)
- Andros Townsend – £13 million (from Newcastle – July 2016)
- Luka Milivojevic – £12 million* (from Olympiacos – January 2017)
- Yohan Cabaye – £10 million (from Paris St-Germain – July 2015)
*Fee officially undisclosed. Believed by The Sun to be £12 million.
(Figures include initial fees in GBP at the time of the transfer, as reported by the BBC unless specified otherwise)
Biggest Flop – Christian Benteke
Crystal Palace’s record transfer arrived late in the summer of 2016, following a disappointingly brief encounter with Liverpool.
Benteke caught the attention of the Premier League when he arrived at Aston Villa as a relative unknown but bagged 42 league goals in 89 appearances over three years at Villa Park. Those numbers caught the eye of Brendan Rodgers, who parted with £32 million to bring the Belgian to Anfield.
Rodgers parted company, and his replacement Jurgen Klopp couldn’t envisage Benteke operating as part of his attacking press, meaning the striker was made available after a single season with the Reds.
Crystal Palace won the race for Benteke’s signature and promptly became their record signing. Initially, the deal appeared to be a savvy investment, a return of 17 goals in all competitions was a platform to build upon in his debut season.
However, in the 34 subsequent appearances the Belgian has made he has managed to find the net on a meagre three occasions.
Biggest Bargain – Wilfred Zaha
Zaha rose to prominence as a product of the Crystal Palace youth academy, and after spending four years in the Championship which culminated in promotion to the Premier League via the 2012/13 Playoff Final, he then left for Manchester United. The transfer is notorious for being Alex Ferguson’s last while in charge at Old Trafford but ended up being Crystal Palace’s shrewdest piece of business.
United shelled out £15 million on the then 20-year-old, who only made two appearances as David Moyes side slumped from champions to seventh in the following campaign.
Zaha returned to Selhurst Park, initially on loan, after just a year away. Although by February 2015 Palace had seen enough to exercise the winger’s buy-back option which rose to £6 million.
In the five seasons since Zaha’s brief departure, he has played 147 times for the Eagles in the Premier League, becoming their record goalscorer in the division with 25. Crystal Palace rely so heavily on the Ivorian international for inspiration they appear unable to win without his influence.
Zaha isn’t the archetypical bargain, but considering his single campaign away earnt Palace £9 million bringing him back was an intelligent move.
Records & Trivia:
- Julian Speroni is Crystal Palace’s current longest-serving club member, having joined the club from Dundee FC in 2004.
- Crystal Palace have nine players in their squad eligible to represent African nations, although only five do.
- Seven members of Palace’s squad have been signed from clubs who have been relegated from the Premier League since their arrival at Selhurst Park.