Palace’s summer dealings have been means tested

The Olympic flame may still be alight at Stratford, but the football season is about to kick off. Just how will Crystal Palace get on? After a summer of more big-name departures than arrivals at Selhurst Park, Five Year Plan fanzine’s SAM HESKETH looks at Dougie Freedman‘s transfer policy

Bricks from straw: the lack of significant transfer funds has been obvious in Dougie Freedman’s summer deals

Dougie Freedman has called on Palace fans to get behind him as he lines up some loan deals for the new season.

“I can understand the fans’ frustration for not signing one or two names, but we’re on a strict budget,” Freedman said.

“We’re just trying to wait for that market and the fans should trust me because we’ve gone in the loan market before and we’ve done well.

“We’ll be looking at attack-minded players from the Premier League, so hopefully, they both come off because it will be exciting for the fans.”

Freedman said that the two signings he is close to securing are “attack-minded in midfield on the wing and up front, because I just feel that when you take a young player on loan defensively, it’s either to cover you or for an injury”.

Palace’s pre-season kicked off with a 5-1 victory away at Lewes. The chance to see new players in the Red and Blue was, as ever, something to look forward to. This season, however, we haven’t had many to look at, something which has caused consternation among some fans.

But if one thing is true of Dougie Freedman’s tenure, it’s that he knows what he’s doing with signings.

The main four players that have left the club have been important for us – Clyne, Ambrose, Gardner and Scannell – and we shouldn’t forget the impact they have made on the club.

But we should also acknowledge that Freedman sees these players every day and knows them better than anyone. We knew Nathaniel was going, after continually refusing to sign a contract it was only a matter of time before he left us and we have already filled his void by signing the very highly rated Joel Ward, a player who rejected a number of clubs to join us, proving that we are still a good prospect to players, despite our fairly lowly finish last season.

Big gaps have been left in the squad by Ambrose, who guarantees goals and Gardner, who stops them, with Scanz being a fan favourite thanks to his Academy roots. But as much as these outgoings have raised eyebrows, Dougie wouldn’t have let them go without a reason – centre back Aaron Martin has come in on a year’s loan and is very highly thought of at Southampton, Aaron Wilbraham is held in similarly high regards by Norwich fans and has bags of experience up front, while Jose Baxter has kicked off his trial well.

Aaron Martin: a “classic” centre half

One thing we don’t need to do is throw money around for the sake of it, something that helped our downward spiral into the second period of administration. If money needs to be spent, it will be and the manager has the backing of the board in that respect but it won’t be done without serious amounts of thought, scouting and hard work. Ward was signed after months of scouting and looks like a shrewd bit of business, bring brought in for £400,000.

For the most part, Freedman’s signings have been very good – Johnny Parr won Player of the Year, O’Keefe won many fans last season, Dean Moxey is a fan favourite, Jedinak grew into a fantastic defensive midfielder.

There is clearly a plan here. Of course it’s disappointing to see players leave the club. Ambrose’s departure takes a big load off the wage bill. If, come the end of the transfer window, we haven’t signed anyone then yes, it will be disappointing, but we should allow the manager time to do his job and as Steve Parish said recently, judge Dougie and the board by the end of that period.

Let’s see what happens before the Watford game on August 18. Who knows, we might even be happy at kick-off.

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