Roy Hodgson was appointed Crystal Palace manager in 2017 and since then he has consolidated the Eagles as a consistent mid-table Premier League side.
To ensure their position in the top-flight, Palace have needed to recruit smartly and make a smaller budget work against some of England’s richest clubs. Hodgson has spent no more than £16.02m on a player since joining the side, with the majority of the 73-year-old’s signings being free transfers.
GIVEMESPORT has picked out the three smartest signings (in no particular order) at Palace during the Hodgson era. Do you agree?
1. Gary Cahill
Cahill signed from Chelsea on a free transfer in what was a shrewd piece of business by the club.
Without spending a penny on the England international, they recruited a two-time Premier League and one-time Champions League winner. His experience has proved invaluable for a club like Palace and you can only imagine his impact on the players in the dressing room.
Cahill’s bullish style of defending has seen him rank as the best in Palace’s ranks for blocks per league game this season with 1.1, and he also is dominant in the air with 3.7 aerials won per game, according to WhoScored.
2. Vicente Guaita
Guaita was another shrewd deal by Palace and the Spaniard left Getafe on a free transfer to join the Selhurst Park ranks.
He has been a consistent presence between the sticks since joining in 2018 and over three seasons he has accumulated 25 Premier League clean sheets, according to FBRef. This season the 34-year-old has saved 102 shots which equates to a save percentage of 65%.
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Guaita wasn’t a household name before arriving in England and plenty of foreign goalkeepers have sunk rather than swam in the Premier League, but he’s proved to be an inspired acquisition.
3. Jordan Ayew
Ayew was signed from Championship side Swansea City for just £2.52m according to Transfermarkt, and is remarkably Palace’s fifth most expensive signing under Hodgson.
He initially joined the club on loan and struggled with just one goal in his debut season. But Palace had enough faith in Ayew to sign him permanently and he quickly repaid it, scoring nine goals the following campaign.
Based on WhoScored figures, Ayew has made 18 goal contributions during his time at Selhurst Park and despite struggling this term he has always been an hardworking contributor.
He was also awarded Crystal Palace’s goal of the season last year for his last minute wonder goal against West Ham.
As well as the low fee, the smartness here comes from Palace trusting Ayew to improve in his second season at the club.