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Crystal Palace tying down this lacklustre £9m star to a new contract shows the club’s lack of ambition – Agreed?



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Crystal Palace Opinion: Wickham’s new deal is a clear testament to the club’s lack of ambition

According to London Evening Standard, Connor Wickham has signed a new two-year deal with Crystal Palace which should secure his future at Selhurst Park until the summer of 2021.

The 26-year-old’s time in south London hasn’t been a happy one, with injuries confining him to the sidelines more often than not but Palace have shown their faith and confidence in the striker by tying him down to a new contract.

The decision to extend his stay at Selhurst Park can be seen as a vote of confidence in the player’s abilities despite his lack of involvement over the last couple of seasons. Wickham missed the entire 2017-18 campaign nursing a long-term injury on the sidelines and made only 6 substitute appearances in the Premier League this term.

Signed from Sunderland for a fee of around £9 million back in 2015, Wickham scored 5 goals in 21 appearances for the Eagles in the Premier League in the 2015-16 season but his struggles with injuries thereafter ensured that the 26-year-old only started league games for the club.

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The Englishman has made a shockingly low 42 appearances for the Eagles in all competitions over the course of four injury-stricken seasons, accumulating 10 goals and 4 assists in the process.

Quite clearly, Palace haven’t reaped the dividends from their investment in 2015 and the decision to extend his ill-fated spell should certainly come as a big surprise to the fans at Selhurst Park.

Wickham ended his two-year-long exile from football with a 1-minute cameo from the bench in Palace’s 2-0 defeat to Everton back in October last year. The 26-year-old played four more cameos in the Premier League against the likes of Cardiff City, Wolves, Chelsea and Liverpool before scoring his first goal in 799 days, netting in the FA Cup victory over Spurs back in January.

The striker marked his return to football but it was quite apparent that his fitness levels weren’t up to the mark, as he went on to play a ridiculously low 61 minutes of football in the Premier League this past season, having missed the entire 2017-18 campaign due to a long-term injury.

His performances in Palace’s red and blue stripes over the years have been anything but convincing and the decision to offer him fresh terms certainly has to be classified as a very bold one.

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Wickham represented England regularly at the U-21 level earlier in his career and he was tipped by many to evolve into the nation’s next prolific No.9, but things haven’t quite gone according to the script for the Hereford-born striker.

From the next big thing in English football to a forgotten man at Selhurst Park- Wickham’s decline has been a shockingly rapid one and he should consider himself extremely lucky to have earned a new deal.

Palace managed to beat the drop comfortably this term to ensure another season of Premier League football but it is high time for the Eagles to show some ambition and aim for better things than just avoiding relegation season after season.

They secured a respectable 12th-place finish but their goalscoring record of 51 goals in 38 Premier League games epitomises the need to bring in a prolific No.9.

The likes of Christian Benteke, Alexander Sorloth and loanee Jordan Ayew offered next to nothing this season and the Eagles need to get rid of deadwood and bring in some fresh faces, with Wilfred Zaha’s departure almost an inevitability.

With all due respect to his abilities, Wickham falls in the category of deadwood at Selhurst Park and the club’s decision to offer him a new deal cannot be justified by using any means.

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With all due respect to his abilities, Wickham falls in the category of deadwood at Selhurst Park and the club’s decision to offer him a new deal cannot be justified by using any means.

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It is just another step backwards that reflects Palace’s lack of ambition and intent to reach greater heights in the Premier League. They should surely look to do some better business over the next two months in a bid to challenge for a top-ten finish next term.  

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Crystal Palace’s midfield would receive a dash of energy if they sign this 22-year-old PL star on loan



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Crystal Palace Opinion: Scott McTominay would add a lot of energy and youthfulness to the Eagles midfield

According to The Sun, Crystal Palace are interested in taking Man United youngster Scott McTominay on loan for the next season if the Red Devils decide against using the Scottish international on a regular basis.

The Sun, however, suggests that United are currently not looking to ship the 22-year-old out on loan this summer, although a few new signings might prompt the Red Devils to alter their stance.

United are already short of cover in central midfield following the departure of Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera, whilst the speculations over Paul Pogba’s future at Old Trafford is expected to make a loan deal for McTominay increasingly difficult to materialize. However, the Red Devils have been linked heavily with a move for Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the two clubs might as well do some fruitful business this summer.

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McTominay impressed for the Red Devils under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskajer towards the end of the previous campaign, with the Norwegian showing a lot of confidence in the talented youngster. The 22-year-old made a total of 22 appearances for the Red Devils in all competitions this past season, scoring twice in the Premier League against Wolves and Huddersfield Town.

The Scotsman established himself as a useful squad player at Old Trafford the last term but it remains to be seen what kind of role United have in mind for him next season. He would probably play a lot more should the Red Devils fail to find replacements for the likes of Herrera and Fellaini, but with the likes of Nemanja Matic and Fred very much in the ranks, it would be hard to imagine the 22-year-old playing a massive role in the upcoming campaign.

As for McTominay, he has never been loaned out before but the prospect of getting regular minutes under his belt in the Premier League at Crystal Palace might appeal to him. On the other hand, the youngster might choose to stay at Old Trafford to focus on his development and, in all honesty, Palace taking him on loan pretty much depends on what plans Solskjaer and the Red Devils have in store for him.

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Realistically speaking, it is hard to see United loaning out McTominay for the next season, given that he played quite a lot of games for them last term. Solskjaer has shown a lot of inclination towards building a strong core of youngsters in the first-team and the 22-year-old certainly deserves to be a part of it. However, if they do decide to send him out elsewhere, Crystal Palace should not hesitate to pounce on the opportunity

Palace are currently not crying out for reinforcements in central midfield, with the likes of Luka Milivojevic, Cheikhou Kouyate and James McArthur all in the ranks at Selhurst Park. Milivojevic was once again amongst the standout performers for the Eagles last season, as the Serb finished the campaign with 12 Premier League goals. However, it won’t be a bad idea for Roy Hodgson to bolster his ranks with some fresh blood by bringing in a talented youngster like McTominay on loan.

McArthur and Kouyate are going to turn 32 and 30 next season, meaning that the youthful exuberance of the Scott could add another dimension to Palace’s midfield. Also, he brings in a lot of physicality to the middle of the park with his 6ft. 4-inch frame and tough-tackling nature.

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Palace would still need to bring in attacking reinforcements to challenge for a top-ten finish in the Premier League but the acquisition of the Man United prodigy won’t do them much harm.

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Crystal Palace can forget about Tomkins and Sakho if they sign this reliable €15m-rated defender – Here’s why



Crystal Palace Opinion: Martin Hinteregger could be a massive upgrade on Tomkins and Sakho

According to claims from German outlet Bild, Crystal Palace are set to rival Eintracht Frankfurt in the race to sign Augsburg defender Martin Hinteregger.

Hinteregger spent the second half of this past season on loan at Frankfurt from fellow Bundesliga outfit Augsburg and the 26-year-old was one of the most influential figures in the club’s wonderful run in the Europa League, which ended in the semi-finals at the hands of eventual champions Chelsea.

Now, Bild suggests that Frankfurt are keen to make the Austrian international’s stay permanent, with reports claiming that Adi Hutter’s side are willing to pay €10 million for that purpose.

However, Augsburg are looking for a fee of around €15 million to part ways with their prized asset and it remains to be seen how Frankfurt alter their stance in response to that sort of asking price.

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Martin Hinteregger’s situation has put Premier League outfit Crystal Palace on red alert and the Eagles are seemingly interested in capitalising on the imminent availability of the experienced centre-back this summer. The 26-year-old made a total of 41 appearances in all competitions for the likes of Augsburg and Frankfurt combined, scoring on four occasions.

A youth product of Austrian heavyweights Red Bull Salzburg, Hinteregger spent seven seasons in the Austrian top-flight with his boyhood club and made a total of 212 appearances before joining Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach on loan in 2016. The 26-year-old earned a permanent move to Germany with Augsburg and established himself as one of the key players at the back for his new club in due course of time.

Hinteregger has registered a total of 83 appearances for Augsburg in all competitions over the course of two-and-a-half seasons but he might end up in England ahead of the upcoming season, with Crystal Palace interested in taking him to the Premier League.

With a wealth of Bundesliga and Europa League experience, the 39-cap Austrian international has an attractive profile, and at 26, he is very in his prime years as a centre-back. Hinteregger has carved out a reputation for himself in Germany and Palace’s links with the defender should come as a piece of welcome news to the fans at Selhurst Park.

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To put things into perspective, Crystal Palace are currently not crying out for defensive reinforcements but the Eagles should look to bring in upgrades on their existing options in all areas of the pitch. The South Londoners capped off this past season in the Premier League with a decent-enough defensive record, having shipped 51 goals in 38 games.

While manager Roy Hodgson is unlikely to be too unhappy with that, Palace are at risk of losing the services of right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has been courted heavily by a number of top clubs, including Man United and Spurs (h/t Metro).

Hinteregger’s arrival would hardly have anything to do with that but the Austrian could prove to be a massive upgrade on the error-prone Mamadou Sakho at the heart of the defence.

Former West Ham man James Tomkins was arguably the pick of the central defenders at Selhurst Park this past season, whilst Sakho reminded the fans once again that he is capable of letting the team down with occasional lapses in concentration and some bizarre defensive errors.

Ex-Liverpool star Martin Kelly penned a new deal with Palace a few months back but veteran Scott Dann has been linked with a move to Newcastle United in recent weeks and the 32-year-old’s departure could possibly leave Palace short of cover at the back. (h/t Sun)

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Even if Palace retain all their existing options, someone like Hinteregger has the experience and the qualities to be an upgrade on the likes of Sakho, Tomkins, Kelly and Dann.

With Zaha heavily linked with a move elsewhere and Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham failing to deliver the goods, attacking reinforcements are likely to be high on Hodgson’s recruitment list for the summer, but bringing in a top-quality centre-back also makes a lot of sense.

Fearless on the tackle, strong in the air, quick across the ground and blessed with a good understanding of the game at the back, Hinteregger looks very much capable of making the step up to the Premier League. Given that he is only 26, Palace have every reason to look at him as a long-term solution in a bid to add more depth and steel to their backline.

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Considering the financial muscle of the Premier League clubs and keeping in mind how important a role the Austrian could go on to play for the Eagles, Crystal Palace should leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of the Bundesliga defensive beast this summer.

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Crystal Palace luring this 27-year-old dynamo to Selhurst Park would add some steel and bite to their midfield



Crystal Palace Opinion: Why Crystal Palace should go all out in their pursuit of Jean Michael Seri

According to Football London, Crystal Palace have been credited with an interest in Fulham midfielder Jean Michael Seri, with reports claiming that the Eagles are looking at an initial loan deal with an option for a permanent transfer to bring the 27-year-old to Selhurst Park.

However, Football London understands that the Ivorian international favours a return back to the French top-flight with Monaco, whilst Turkish Galatasaray have also expressed their desire to secure his services.

Seri is unlikely to stick around at Craven Cottage in the Championship next season. Although his next destination is yet to be confirmed, the Eagles are believed to be making an effort to keep the 27-year-old in the Premier League.

Palace, however, face an uphill task convincing the Ivorian to switch bases from the west to the south of the capital following a disastrous debut season at Fulham in the Premier League last term.

Seri, who made his move to Fulham last summer from Nice as a part of the Cottagers spending spree, was expected to play a key role but the 27-year-old largely underwhelmed with his inconsistent run of form at Craven Cottage this past season.

Seri made 32 appearances for Fulham in the Premier League and contributed with just a goal and a couple of assists, as the Cottagers got relegated to the Championship after just a single season in the top-flight.

Although he showed glimpses of his brilliance in the earlier stages of the previous season, the Ivorian’s impact gradually waned as the campaign wore on, and he finished the season with the label of a big-money flop hanging over his head.

The 27-year-old rose to prominence with Ligue 1 outfit Nice and established himself as one of the most promising box-to-box midfielders in Europe before his scintillating run of form in the French top-flight caught the eye of La Liga giants Barcelona.

Seri registered 12 goals and 26 assists in 123 appearances for Nice over the course of his three seasons at the club before snubbing the chance to join Barcelona in favour of a switch to the Premier League with Fulham last summer.

Seri is not the only high-profile player at Fulham to be linked with an exit this summer, with Ryan Sessegnon and Aleksandar Mitrovic also eyeing up moves elsewhere.

Although a move back to France would serve Seri well, the prospect of staying in the Premier League for another season could appeal to the 27-year-old.

To put things into perspective, Crystal Palace should leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of the Fulham star this summer and Seri’s arrival would definitely be a strong statement of intent from the Eagles.

Jean Michael Seri

Despite his poor debut season at Fulham, the 27-year-old remains a very talented and useful midfielder and signing him on loan would not be much of a gamble for the Eagles.

Roy Hodgson is already pretty well-stocked in his options in the middle of the park. The likes of James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic were amongst the standout performers at Selhurst Park this past season, as the South Londoners finished 12th in the standings.

However, the imminent departures of Pape Souare, Jason Puncheon and Bakary Sako should prompt the manager to look for some fresh signings and Seri certainly fits the bill.

A strong, tenacious and hardworking central midfielder noted for his drive, determination, accurate passing and ball-distribution skills, Seri also contributes a lot with his creativity, vision and quality on the ball.

Cheikhou Kouyate continues to be a decent option in the ranks at Palace but one can get the feeling that Seri could add that bit of spice and unpredictability to the midfield.

Palace need to show more ambition in the transfer window if they are really serious about challenging for a top-ten finish in the Premier League next season.

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While holding on to the likes of Zaha, Townsend and Wan-Bissaka continue to be a priority for the Eagles, they also need to consider bringing in some quality players in all areas of the pitch. Keeping that in mind, the acquisition of Seri could prove to be a shrewd piece of business for the Eagles.

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