Date:Friday January 27 2006
Crystal Palace are being linked with three possible signings ahead of next weeks transfer deadline.
19 year old Southampton striker Leon Best could join the Eagles in £350,000 move. Best joined the Saints from Notts County for £50,000 as a 16 year old but has yet to feature under George Burley. He impressed on loan at Sheffield Wednesday earlier this season and has been the subject of bids from both Wednesday and Plymouth. Particularly adept with his back to goal Best would provide another option in an already congested Selhurst Park striking contingent. With youth on his side he is perhaps viewed as one for the future. But would his signing hinder the development of youth players such as Lewis Grabban?
Rumours linking Stan Lazaridis with Palace were fairly strong at one point, with Steve Bruce reported to be eager to free up funds for Birmingham City. But the rumblings emanating from the Pug Uglies now suggest a mooted £300,000 deal is unlikely. Palace have not had a recognised left winger since the departure of Julian Gray, to Birmingham, in 2004. The move to address this situation is refreshing but long, long overdue. The lack of a left sided option has crippled the team. How can Palace hope to win the promotion race if they are running with a broken left leg?
Irish midfielder Colin Healy has been training with Palace for the last week in a bid to win a contract. The 26 year old recently out of contract with Sunderland, has not played since a horror tackle from Coventry’s Youssef Safri left him with a double leg fracture. Formerly with Celtic, Healy offers an interesting alternative to the midfielders currently available to Iain Dowie in that his ability to tackle coexists with his ability to pass at a fairly high level. Before his injury Healy had made 12 appearances for EIRE and if he can get back to full fitness would represent a gamble well worth taking. As he is out of contract Healy could be signed outside of the transfer window.
Other names to be linked with Palace in recent weeks include wingers Josh Low and Luke Gutteridge, of Northampton and Southend respectively, Hungarian Peter Halmosi, Wolves’ Colin Cameron and left back Jose Goncalves of FC Thun.
Whether Palace get any of the aforementioned names “over the line” will probably not be known until the transfer window is firmly shut. The failure to bring in reinforcements in January 2005 undoubtedly made Premiership survival that much harder to achieve. In 2004 Palace went on an incredible run to reach the playoffs. 8 wins from their final 11 games made that a reality; it will probably require something of greater magnitude for Palace to finish in the top two this season. Palace will need all the help they can get. An injection of fresh blood could provide the impetus required to achieve the impossible.
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