Yesterday the news we’ve all been expecting for many months finally was announced that Yohan Cabaye had left Crystal Palace.
It was a couple of hours before the England versus Columbia match that AL Basr FC of Dubai announced via their Twitter feed that they had secured his signature.
Putting aside all the snidey comments about how Cabaye had taken money over playing in a better league and so on I noticed that Palace fans seem to be under the impression that we can either afford £20m or more to sign Ruben Loftus-Cheek or entice Jack Wilshere to sign for us for a knockdown salary.
Palace’s pulling power
Since our return to the Premier League in 2013, our 4 highest profile signings are Benteke, Sakho, Cabaye and Townsend. Why did they choose to come to Palace over other teams?
In Benteke and Sakho’s case, it was simply that nobody else would pay the amount of money that Liverpool wanted for them at the time.
In Cabaye’s case, he was a squad player at Paris St. Germain and wanted 1st team football in order to get into the France squad for the European Championships that was being held in his home country the following season. Crystal Palace was the highest profile team on offer playing in the highest profile league.
In Townsend’s case, he wanted Premier League football after Newcastle United were relegated in order to try to get back into the England squad.
Why would Wilshere come to Palace?
So, just why would Wilshere choose to sign for Palace over, say, West Ham?
If everything was equal I could think Roy Hodgson would be the thing that tipped the scales after all Wilshere snubbed Palace to sign on loan at Bournemouth because his best friend was playing for them.
Take Roy Hodgson out of the equation and I can’t think Palace would be a more attractive option than, for example, West Ham because I can imagine they can offer him more money than we can.
Given that Jack Wilshere is a free agent that means he will command over £1m as a signing, probably over £5m! He turned down over £100k to stay at Arsenal so I can imagine he’d want at least that amount to play for a club, especially as he is an England international.
Palace isn’t blessed with the finances that West Ham have, be it because they pay peanuts for their stadium or that they get over double the attendance that we do. Either way, financially, we can’t entice him.
Do we stand more chance of challenging for trophies or Europe? No, not really and this is all without thinking that there might be other clubs at home or abroad who could be interested in his signature.
Would Wilshere be a decent replacement for Cabaye?
In a word, no!
We have basically let Cabaye go by not offering him a contract that he thinks he’s worth. Many fans supported this stance because to quite them ‘Cabaye can only play 70 minutes a game because his legs have gone!’
If we sign Wilshere we’d have gone from having a player who can only play 70 minutes a game to one who can just about manage 70 minutes one game in every three, if we’re lucky. This isn’t in keeping with our financial model.
Don’t get me wrong, Wilshere is a good player but given his injury record and our need to keep wages down his signing doesn’t make sense unless it would be adding to the squad we had not replacing first-team players.
But it seems the Parish worshippers mantra has to be dusted off and chanted again: in Parish and Dougie we trust.
Like we have a choice!