As all Palace fans wait with bated breath for the first confirmed signings of the 2014-15 season (apart from free agent Chris Kettings) I ask the question; will the next few weeks make or break our forthcoming season?
So far we have aimed, and failed, to sign some great footballers. My personal desire to see Steven Caulker at Selhurst Park now looks increasingly unlikely with money bags QPR reported to be very close to securing his signature. Sigurdsson is another player I would have loved to have seen at Palace but he too seems to be swinging his attention to a move to Swansea City. We have had bids accepted for both these players so why are they looking like choosing other teams over us and should this be of great concern?
In answer to the first I have little idea why a player would choose QPR over Palace apart from the fact his wages will almost certainly be higher at QPR. Also, specifically for Steven Caulker the lure of working alongside Rio Ferdinand could be too great an attractive offer to pass up. In answer to the second I am deeply concerned. Signing players of the calibre of Caulker and Sigurdsson would show the fans, players and our Premier League rivals that we are serious in our belief that we belong in the Premier League and will do everything we can to stay there. Now, I am by no means advocating putting our great club in financial difficulty again but I do think we need to really push the boat out financially to secure the best players we possibly can. Why am I so adamant that this needs to happen?
Let me tell a short story about a player called Tim Cahill; nearly 10 years ago to this day Palace were on the verge of signing Tim Cahill from Millwall for £2m. The previous season we had achieved promotion to the top flight through winning the play offs and was desperate to survive our first season back. Bringing players in was, as usual, key to our fortunes, but we struggled to attract top names and we ended up being relegated on the final day of the season by 1 point and a goal difference of four. I know football doesn’t exactly work this way but there is no way in my opinion we would have been relegated if we had managed to sign a 24 year old Tim Cahill. The reason the deal fell through, because our then chairman Simon Jordan refused to pay Tims agent 5% of the transfer fee;
"We offered Tim a decent Premiership salary and he seemed very keen to join us. The agent then asked for 5% on top .. I told him he doesn't work for me but for the player, and to take the money out of his wages."
Obviously our relegation could not have been foreseen at the time but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from past mistakes. As morally credible as it was for Simon Jordan to refuse to pay this agents fee when indeed it probably should have been paid for by the player, it highlights just how important and difficult signing the right player is.
The transfer window still has a long way to go and I have no doubt Crystal Palace will sign some good and decent players in that time, but if our rivals continue to successfully tempt confirmed targets away from us then I fear we will either make bad signings or panic signings ala Ian Holloway, each of which could seriously hamper our upcoming campaign. M faith in the hierarchy at Selhurst Park is undiminished and I am 100% sure players will be signed; I just pray they are the right ones.