Are Palace ready to challenge for Europe?

| December 7, 2015 | 0 Comments

This is a very exciting time for Crystal Palace supporters and it could be set to get even better after co-chairman Steve Parish revealed he thinks the club could be potential Premier League title winners in the next 10 years.

With Palace set to receive significant investment when American businessmen Josh Harris and David Blitzer complete their purchase of a 36% stake in the club, some fans are even allowing themselves to get excited about the prospect of European football returning to Selhurst Park next season.

The arrival of the duo is set to see up to £100 million injected into the club, with Alan Pardew eagerly anticipating an exciting January transfer window. But it won’t be just the playing staff that is improved following the new investment, with the whole club looking to establish itself with the biggest in the Premier League.

While fellow Londoners Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham might claim to be bigger clubs than Palace at the moment in terms of fan-base and history, the club from Croydon could be starting a journey that sees them join their city rivals as a genuine force in the top flight of English football.

However, despite Parish’s comments, just how are Palace looking in their bid to become a major Premier League power?

This Season

Seventh in the league at the time of writing, this has been a very promising first half of the campaign so far for Pardew’s men. If this squad could find a little more consistency, there is little doubt that they could still be in and around the top-six places come the final few weeks of the season.

Outstanding victories over Liverpool and Newcastle were sandwiched in between a dismal 1-0 home defeat to a struggling Sunderland team, but on the whole this has been a very enjoyable season for Palace fans.

With bookmakers such as betfair offering odds of around 8/1 on the finishing in the top six, that spare fiver you found in your jeans the other week could well be worth putting on the Eagles recording their highest ever finish in the Premier League.

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From Alex McCarthy’s standout performances in goal, Scott Dann in defence, Yohan Cabaye in midfield or Yannick Bolasie’s continued emergence as one of the Premier League’s most exciting forwards, there hasn’t been an area of this team that hasn’t been firing on all cylinders.

The addition of another couple of players in January, as well as another man capable of scoring close to 15 goals in a season, and this could end up being a memorable campaign for the club. Only a brief foray into the Intertoto Cup back in 1998/99 sits on Palace’s European C.V. but qualifying for the Europa League will now be the target for the club this season.

The Future

Placing a huge emphasis on youth has not been a recent tactic by Palace, but this could well be one of the strongest sets of young players this club has seen. While the likes of Mile Jedinak, Yohan Cabaye and Brede Hangeland have provided an important level of experience, those young players have been able to play without pressure, resulting in Wilfried Zaha’s and Yannick Bolasie’s of this squad playing at their very best.

While there might not be the same homegrown youngster coming through as there once was, the club have looked towards the future with a lot of their recent recruitment and there is a core of names that could be around for a long while yet.

With so many younger players set to hit their peak over the next few years, as long as Palace can hang onto their most important players, we could be looking at seeing the likes of McCarthy, Dann, Zaha and Gayle at Selhurst Park for a while yet.

The Boss

It’s probably fair to say Alan Pardew didn’t arrive at Selhurst Park with a glowing reference from the majority of Newcastle fans who were overjoyed to see Palace take their manager off their hands.

Almost a year into his reign, though, the former Palace midfielder has slipped back into life in South London extremely well. The man who splits opinion with a lot of the footballing world has done a good job of upholding his legacy at the club.

 

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Category: Local News and Sport

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