Has Steve Mandanda Got Itchy Feet?

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Information: This is an article I wrote for The Eagles Beak and has been published here 1 month it was published on their website. This version may differ slightly from their version. 

According to reports coming out of France, Steve Mandanda has itchy feet and is feeling a little restless with life at Selhurst Park.

When he joined the Eagles in the summer, many Palace fans had hoped the French international keeper would prove to be a massive success. While Mandanda he has become somewhat of a cult figure with the Palace faithful, things aren’t going as well as he thought they would do.

While Palace flirt with the relegation zone and are unable to keep a clean sheet, Mandanda picked up a foot injury while away on international duty, which has seen him sit out our last two games and he probably isn’t in a hurry to return to the firing line.

When Mandanda joined us from Marseille for a reported £1.5m he signed a three-year contract but it is beginning to look unlikely that he will see out even a year of his contract if reports are to be believed. On Sunday, the keeper was a guest on French TV show Telefoot, in which they quizzed him about his career moves.

Mandanda confirmed that OM continue to be his favourite team, which is natural as he spent 8 largely successful years at the club which saw him win a number of honours including the Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year award four times!

Mandanda’s answer naturally lead to a question about the possibility of him returning to his former club. Rather than commenting that he’s under contract at Selhurst Park for three years, Mandanda said “I can’t answer that right now” while going on to speak about possibly joining another Premier League club.

So does that mean he’s looking for the exit door? Let’s hope that something got lost in translation or the nuances of what he was saying have been misinterpreted but, as I am a master debater, I’ll play Devil’s advocate and take it at face value.

When Mandanda signed for Palace, or rather, when it was announced we had signed Mandanda it was when the transfer window opened on 1st July.

Mandanda’s signing was announced along with Tomkins and Townsend but unlike the latter two, Mandanda was never pictured holding up a Palace shirt. This lead to some fans questioning his commitment to Palace, something which puzzled me. Their argument was that someone could have flown out a Palace shirt for him to be pictured with while training at Euro 2016.

To be fair I can see their point but I don’t think a player is any more or less committed to Palace if they are seen holding up a shirt. Honestly, who gives a Brighton?

So, what made Mandanda choose Palace? I’m sure he could have chosen a number of clubs to play for, even Premier League clubs. I can only assume that it’s down to Yohan Cabaye so if I were him I wouldn’t expect a Christmas card from Mandanda any time in the near future! He is probably better off checking any post for anthrax!

So, Cabaye had a word with Mandanda and convinced him that south London and the south of France aren’t so different and he signed on the dotted line. At the time we’d just lost the cup final, had a tight defensive unit, had big plans to sign a world class striker (though later on it turned out that we needed to sell for £30m before we could buy for £30m, but let’s gloss over that for now) and generally things were on the up and up for Palace.

Fast forward 2 months to the middle of August when the French lads joined up with the Palace team after their extended holiday because of Euro 2016. Cabaye returned to and Mandanda arrived to find a club having a civil war.

Zaha, Puncheon and Bolasie all wanted new contracts and were spitting the dummy all over the place because they were not earning as much as Cabaye and Twonsend. Bolasie took it one step further and walked around the pitch in pre-season like a child hearing the word ‘no’ for the first time and made it known nothing could keep him at Palace.

Within two weeks of his arrival Pardew had publicly took the captaincy off Jedinak, Bolasie had demanded (and got) a move, we’d sold Jedinak and the fans were up in arms! Mandanda must have wondered what he’d let himself in for!

I thought it would take time for Mandanda to adjust to life in the Premier League, it did for Souare but goalkeepers get challenged more in England but Mandanda has done well. He will get better and though he has made some mistakes, mistakes that Hennessey or McCarthy would have got slaughtered for he also has made some blinding saves.

As I said when he signed for us, African goalkeepers are nothing if not entertaining! Much like African defenders, and Souare is a prime example of this, they are capable of moments of utter brilliance followed by moments of utterly bizarre mistakes. Mandanda will win us more games than he’ll cost us, that’s for sure!

I hope all the reports from France are nothing more than silly talk or a misunderstanding but I wouldn’t blame Mandanda for questioning who this person is who signed him and tries to organise the team each week as it appears that Pardew and the other coaches couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery at the moment.

If a picture says a thousand words then look at Mandanda’s face each time we concede a goal, it says a lot! It’s like he can’t believe the defensive mistakes we are making. Join the club Steve, join the club!

You don’t have to be mad to play in goal for Palace, but it helps!

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