As Crystal Palace embark upon a quest to finish a Premier League season without getting relegated – they’ve tried and failed on four previous occasions – manager Ian Holloway is looking to beef up his back line.
This is an area of the squad that desperately needs a quality injection to stave off the drop – available to back at 8/15 with Ladbrokes – and Holloway is hoping that one or both of Khalid Boulahrouz or William Gallas can provide it.
Both former Chelsea defenders are readily available, the latter on a free transfer following release from Tottenham, the former told his services are no longer required at Sporting Lisbon.
Gallas would be preferential, having been a key figure for the capital’s three elite clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham – over his 18-year career.
The 36-year-old, who has been capped 84 times for France, would provide some vital top-flight experience for the Eagles, with only Danny Gabbidon able to boast that in any real capacity of their current squad.
The issue of wages would come into it, but if Palace were to match his no-doubt lofty demands, a short-term contract of a year would ensure that no baggage was attached if the club failed to keep their heads above water.
He would probably be a better option than Boulahrouz who, at 31, would presumably require a contract with a few more years on it as well as some bulky wage demands.
Loaning the Dutchman would make more fiscal sense than a permanent deal as, in addition to the financial benefits, the player is not as well-rehearsed with Premier League life as Gallas is, nor is he as consistent a performer.
Neither player will be in the Palace team that takes on Spurs on the opening weekend and this match against high-calibre opposition will provide a stern test of how the Eagles’ current crop are suited to life in the top flight.
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