After spending four seasons at Crystal Palace, Roy Hodgson left his hometown club at the end of the 2020/21 season, helping them to stay in the top flight of English football for another season. Finding Hodgson’s replacement will be a huge and important task for the Eagles but an even bigger task will be rebuilding the squad for the incoming manager. The contracts of 13 players are expiring on June 30, 2021 and there has been no news on which players will extend and which players will leave the club. Crystal Palace also had one of the oldest squads in terms of average age in the Premier League for a couple of seasons, at least.
The below visualisation shows the percentage of overall minutes played in the Premier League by Crystal Palace each player.
As shown in the above graph, most of the key members of the squad are above 30 years old. Cheikhou Kouyaté had been involved in the most minutes for an outfield Palace player and luckily for the Eagles his contract runs until the summer of 2022. The contracts of first-team regulars Scott Dann, Gary Cahill and Mamadou Sakho all expire this summer and it will be interesting to see if any of those players will be with the Eagles next season. The same can be said for left-back Patrick van Aanholt, however, it is expected that the 30-year-old Dutch player will leave on free this summer, with his replacement Tyrick Mitchell touted to be a long-term replacement. However, Palace will need a back up left back – someone young – who can compete with Mitchell for a place in the starting eleven.
Eberechi Eze, Nathan Ferguson and Jean-Philippe Mateta all signed last season and are 23 years old or younger. Eze, who signed from QPR, played 75% of the overall league minutes. Unfortunately for Palace, he will be ruled out for most of next season because of an injury. Similarly, Nathan Ferguson, having missed the whole of his first season at Palace because of injury, is set to miss the start of the upcoming season as well. Mateta is on loan until the end of 2021/22 season. However, Palace will look to involve him more in the upcoming season and make his move permanent.
One of the must-sign positions for Palace going into the new season is at right-back. With Ferguson injured, and Clyne and Ward having expiring contracts this summer, Palace will look to prioritise the signing of a right-back in this window.
Some other senior players whose contracts are expiring this summer include James McCarthy, Jeffrey Schlupp, Andros Townsend and Wayne Hennessey. Like every other summer, Zaha looks set on moving away as well.
It will be really interesting to see how Palace handle this summer and plan for the long-term. Of course, all the players whose contracts expire this summer won’t leave but the right players will have to be awarded the extension. First, however, Palace must sign a manager to put together this new age squad.