Crystal Palace have completed more transfer business this week in the form of French Midfielder Elliot Grandin. The Frenchman has joined Palace on a one-year deal from Blackpool, where he had a mixed time at best.
The winger will join his former Blackpool manager Ian Holloway at Palace, and will no doubt do his best to help the Eagles achieve survival in the Premier League. Palace have already strengthened their squad by signing Dwight Gayle from Peterborough, Jerome Thomas on a free transfer and Jose Campaña from Sevilla. The signing of Campaña in particular can be seen as a great deal for Palace, as the player has shown a lot of promise for Sevilla and captained the Spanish Under-20 side at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Despite this, the area Palace really need to improve is their striking options. Glenn Murray was fantastic for the Eagles last year netting thirty times in the Championship. Murray then suffered a serious knee injury in the playoff semi-final against Brighton, and will not be available until December at the very earliest. With Aaron Wilbraham and the evergreen Kevin Phillips their only striking options, Crystal Palace moved early to sign Dwight Gayle from Peterborough. Gayle scored thirteen times for struggling Peterborough in the Championship last year, which was a good return for a relegated club.
The question remains whether he will be able to score goals in the Premier League. In the 2011-12 Gayle was playing his football for Bishops Stortford, albeit on loan from Dagenham and Redbridge. Gayle’s career has been a fairy-tale one, but whether he will be able to repay a fee that could reportedly rise to £8m remains to be seen.
What Palace need is a proven goal scorer. The reality for many promoted sides is that proven Premier League strikers are hard to come by. Many decide to cast their net abroad in hope that the often cheaper foreign option will pay dividends. In the last two Premier League seasons, promoted teams Norwich and Southampton had prolific lower league marksmen in Grant Holt and Rickie Lambert, who were able to transfer their skills into Premier League goals. Before injury Ian Holloway would have been hoping that Glenn Murray would be able to do the same. Ollie may decide to use Gayle, Phillips and Wilbraham as stopgaps until Murray returns. However, after coming back from such a lengthy injury, attempting to score enough goals to keep Palace up could be a tough task for a debut Premier League season.
The departure of Wilfried Zaha and the injury of Murray mean that Palace will begin the season hoping Grandin, Thomas, Gayle and the like will be able to replace a great deal of Palace’s goals and assists from last season. During pre-season Palace have had former Arsenal forward Quincy Owusu-Abeyie and Austrian Atdhe Nuhiu on trial. The former has not signed a deal with Palace and Nuhiu has signed for Sheffield Wednesday. It is therefore clear that Holloway was willing to look at more forwards but has yet to find what he is looking for.
With Spurs due to arrive at Selhurst Park in two weeks’ time, any potential deal for a forward will need to be done soon. New forward or not Palace fans will be hoping Grandin hits the ground running in order to emulate some of the form of departed star Wilfried Zaha.