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Crystal Palace - Death of the New Deal

Yannick Bolasie signs a new deal for
Palace – but don’t count on him staying.
Most Crystal Palace fans rejoiced over the weekend having heard the news that the sides’ most explosive threat going forwards had signed a new contract that ties him to Selhurst Park for the next three and a half years. However, fans should be aware that Yannick Bolasie’s new deal doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll stay at the club long term.

Heavily linked with a move away from the Eagles over the summer, boss Alan Pardew described the Congolese international as being worth at least £25 million. Whilst some pundits may have thought that price to be extortionate, it represents the value that Bolasie has contributed to Palace since joining from Bristol City in 2012, most notably since the club were promoted in 2013.

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Although he undoubtedly has his flaws, with his end product still occasionally leaving a little to be desired, Bolasie has been a remarkably consistent performer for Palace since the club re-joined the top flight. Looking at his statistics, the uninformed may wonder why that is. With no goals or assists so far this season and having scored with only 4 of his 44 shots in the last campaign, the bare statistics suggest Bolasie may be slightly over-hyped.

However, ask those that watch Palace on a regular basis and they’ll describe Bolasie as one of the most critical players to Palace going forwards. Whenever he gets the ball, the 26-year old frightens opposition full backs by running fearlessly at them and pushes the defence back. Not only does his direct attitude lead to chances for other players within Alan Pardew’s system – only Jason Puncheon created more for his team mates last season - it forces space on the pitch elsewhere for players to take advantage of. Whether that is getting the ball to the ever improving and equally marauding Pape Soaure or giving room for Palace’s other attacking outlets, whenever Bolasie gets the ball his ability to run with it means something is bound to happen. Most importantly, this gives Palace fans something that all supporters crave – a player that embodies the spirit of the club through representing their own sense of adventure.

All that considered, Palace fans were understandably concerned when Yannick was linked with a move away and so seemingly delighted when a new deal was penned over the weekend. History suggests though, that they should be wary of celebrating too much. Countless times since the introduction of the Bosman rule have we seen players fail to secure a move, sign a new contract to increase their value in order to mean the selling club can achieve a higher fee. The whole process is about the player giving loyalty to their team to ensure they are less likely to stand in their way when a bigger club comes in. Only this year, Fabian Delph signed a new contract as captain of Aston Villa – which was announced to massive fanfare at Villa Park’s big screen on a match day – whilst David De Gea has penned a new deal at Manchester United with the expectation that he will still be a Real Madrid player by next summer.

In Bolasie’s case, evidence for this being a possible explanation for the new deal comes through manager Alan Pardew’s comments. Talking about the new deal to the press, Pardew stated that he hoped to develop the winger, before adding ‘Then if a big club comes we use that money to take the club forward. Simple equation.’ Also repeatedly talking about the security the deal added for the club, Pardew added ‘… we know, if he was available for £5 million, we’d have a queue from here to wherever. He’s a lot more money than that, and now we’ve got three and a half years he’s a lot more money.’

The comments hardly sound like a ringing endorsement that Bolasie will be seeing out the length of his contract. The nature of modern football as a business is that players are the primary commodity in extrapolating profit. Having signed Bolasie for peanuts three years ago, Palace have seen his value rise exponentially since then and have done the logical thing by tying one of their most valuable assets down to a long term deal.

That deal therefore doesn’t mean he’ll be at Selhurst Park long term. It simply means that when he does go, the club will make more money than they otherwise might have.

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