"We haven't been able to strengthen as much as we would have liked and the finances are such that we haven't really got a lot of money to spend on players. The chairman has made it clear to me that certainly this next season it is all about survival again."
Above is a quote from Roy Hodgson, via the Times, regarding the reasons behind Crystal Palace's lack of movement in this summer's transfer window. You would be perfectly within reason to question how a Premier League team, backed by US investors, embarking on their sixth consecutive season in England's lucrative top flight are so strapped for cash. So why exactly do the Eagles have no money to spend?
I can see why some are concerned about transfers whilst other clubs seem to be getting their business done early.— Pete Dixon (@PeteDixon91) July 15, 2018
Lee Chung Yong
Loftus Cheek (loan ended)
Fosu Mensah (loan ended)
To think our squad was too thin last season #CPFC
Well, in recent years, the south London club have spent quite a lot. Maybe too much, to be quite honest. The last two windows have seen just four players of note join the club, an early sign that the coffers may be limited.
The summer of 2017 saw Mamadou Sakho and Jairo Riedewald join from Liverpool and Ajax respectively for a combined fee of around £34m, with Norwegian forward Alexander Sorloth joining for £11m the following January alongside £2m man Jaroslaw Jach - who is yet to kick a ball for Palace. However, the heavy spending that is causing the current problems stems much further back.
Prior to the summer which saw Sakho and Riedewald arrive in SE25, Sam Allardyce shelled out £40m in the January transfer window on the likes of Luka Milivojevic, Jeffrey Schlupp and Patrick van Aanholt in a desperate attempt to avoid the drop. The summer before that window saw Christian Benteke arrive for £32m, Andros Townsend for £13m, James Tomkins for £10m.
Throughout all of this lavish spending, the only real notable departures that bought in any sort of fee were the sales of Yannick Bolasie and Dwight Gayle for around £40m. Even the likes of Jordon Mutch, Bakary Sako, Lee Chung-Yong and many more fringe players were all signed on huge wages, draining the funds even more.
As aforementioned, the money generated from television rights to show Premier League games brings in a reported £140m, if the Eagles' 2016/17 numbers are anything to go by. This should surely alleviate any financial worries, but I get the feeling that the TV revenue is perhaps the reason for Palace spending money that they haven't got in previous years.
Furthermore, the investment overseas from Josh Harris and David Blitzer shouldn't go unnoticed. In fairness, they have contributed heavily to the planned redevelopment of Selhurst Park as well as helping secure the signatures of those previously mentioned signings.
So far this summer, much of the club's business has been focused on improving the finances, the huge wage bill being the first job on the list. Yohan Cabaye, Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke and Sakho all earn £100,000-a-week or more at Selhurst Park, a worrying amount for a club whose matchday revenue is one of the lowest in the league.
The departure of Cabaye has gone some way to reducing that massive wage bill. The Frenchman's decision to let his contract run down and join Al-Nasr on a free means the Eagles got nothing back in terms of a fee from their £11m investment on the midfielder, but will free up £100,000 on the wage bill.
Damien Delaney and Diego Cavalieri have also left the club to take a bit off the wage bill. What is perhaps the biggest worry of them all, however, is the lack of depth in the Eagles' squad. Last season saw the south London club hit with such an significant injury crisis that they had to name just six substitutes at times, mostly made up of youth players.
If you look at the squad now, both Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Timothy Fosu-Mensah - who are back at Chelsea and Manchester United after their loans ended - Cabaye, Delaney, Cavalieri, Sako and Lee Chung-Yong have all left the squad that relied on youngsters to fill their bench.
Should no more than six new faces turn up at Selhurst Park before the opening game against Fulham, Palace will technically have a weaker squad than they had the season before - Spanish keeper Vicente Guaita the only new boy. This is particularly concerning, given the fact that the need for squad reinforcements was pivotal even before the departures of the aforementioned players.
The best that the Eagles can hope for, realistically, at this point, would be for a significant bid to come in for one of their players; Townsend or Benteke are looking the most likely to attract such an offer.
Without a sudden cash injection, however, Palace look set to embark on their sixth successive Premier League season with an extremely thin squad, a few loan additions the best that they can hope for.
If you were a player of Zaha, Sakho or Milivojevic's ability, would you be happy to hear that those above you at the club were setting their ambitions for the coming season so low?