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November 29 2021 9.18am

Do Palace need to do more business this summer?

August 28 2021

Selhurst Park

Selhurst Park

Three games in to the new Premier League campaign and Palace fans have been given a clear indication that this season will be a tough one, writes Richard Wilmott.

There was no shame in losing to the European Champions on the opening weekend, but the manner of that defeat, in which Palace managed just one shot on target, was disappointing.

That 3-0 loss was followed by a goalless home draw with newly-promoted Brentford, in which Palace again registered fewer shots than their opponents, though they had the better of the play. That improved with the latest draw against West Ham.

Palace fans will want to give Patrick Vieira time to instil his football philosophy. But memories of the failed Frank de Boer experiment have not yet faded, and in such a fiercely competitive league, we know how important it is not to lose ground at the start.

The warning signs are already there. UK betting apps covering the PL spread have downgraded Palaceís chances, generally rating them as fourth favourites for relegation.

Of course, given the number of changes to the squad, an adjustment period is inevitable. Palaceís transfer business this summer has been frenetic. Twelve players have left the club, including long established Premier League names such as Andros Townsend, Gary Cahill, Wayne Hennessey, James McCarthy, Mamadou Sakho and Scott Dann.

In their place, Vieira has opted for youth and promise, spending over £50m after losing so many players but he will be hoping that the newcomers will come good sooner rather than later.

Centre halves Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen will be key players in Palaceís efforts this season, but perhaps the most promising addition to the squad is Michael Olise, the third most expensive of Vieiraís acquisitions, bought from Reading for £9.3million.

The teenager was one of the stars of the Championship last season, registering seven goals and 12 assists and has been estimated to be worth around £20-30m. Gaining his signature, and beating competition from Liverpool and Leeds in the process, was a major coup for Vieira and Palace fans will be hoping that Olise can provide a spark up front.

Yet while Olise can bring additional creativity to the ranks of the first team, Vieira may need to do more transfer business before the current window is out. In particular, he will be concerned about the depth of options up front.

Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha are the go-to attacking players, but outside that duo, there is not a lot of choice when it comes to goal scorers. And as the tough first match of the season showed, the current Palace line-up seems underpowered in this department.

Itís no surprise than that speculation over Vieiraís next transfer targets has centred largely on strikers and attacking wingers. Top of the list would be Celticís star striker Odsonne Edouard.

The French forward has been prolific in the Scottish Premiership, bagging 85 goals in 169 games for the Glasgow giants, and Palace were among the teams that expressed an interest in signing him last season, though this time round they face competition from Brighton.

If they miss out on Edouard, another option could be Arsenalís Eddie Nketiah. The young striker is said to be worth around £10 million, and with his contract expiring at the end of this season, Arsenal may feel that they want to cash in now. And as a young forward with great potential and plenty to prove, he would certainly fit with the signing philosophy that Vieira appears to be enacting.

Another option that Vieira could be considering is Abdallah Sima, currently playing for Slavia Prague. He joined Prague last summer, and although initially brought in as a B-team option, soon forced his way into the first team, going on to score 16 goals from 33 appearances. Reportedly on Palaceís radar back in May, Sima would also seem to fit the Vieira mould.

This season promises to be a tough one, but Vieiraís appointment has also offered the possibility of something more exciting than a relegation struggle. If those hopes are to be realised, however, then more transfer business this summer is essential.

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