A lot has been written about our transfer dealing this summer and a lot will be written during the coming months.

In this writer’s humble opinion, I think more will be written about who we didn’t sign rather than who we did as our midfield short comings are exposed by the ravages of autumn and the inevitable injuries and suspensions that will come our way.

That aside here is my opinion on who is our best signing this summer.

Andros Townsend

Townsend was a player I was banging on about in January when Newcastle signed him from Tottenham. At the time we had Bolasie, Puncheon and Sako out injured so we had a real shortage of players who could give us pace and width.

So when we signed Townsend from Newcastle I was pleased that we managed to capture a player who has played for England a number of times and as she showed for Newcastle last season, given a run in the side he can make a real difference.

Best of all, he is a wide player with an end product!

On the negative side, he seemed prepared to leave Newcastle fans who loved him to come to Palace. Playing in front of 50,000 passionate Geordies every week at St. James’ Park verses 24,000 passionate fans at Selhurst Park in which the atmosphere is on the edge of turning against the manager is, for a neutral a no brainer.

Townsend claimed he needed Premier League football but that doesn’t wash with me. A good season in the Championship in a team expected to romp to the title would put him in the perfect shop window next season before the 2018 World Cup.

Another negative for me is the lack of competition for his signature. As his fee was capped by a £13m by a relegation release clause, why didn’t more… or any… clubs come in for him? There was a mumble that Stoke were interested in him but it wasn’t a serious offer.

So my verdict is that while Townsend offers us a lot more quality on the wing with a good end product the fact nobody else wanted him puts a few question marks over how good a signing he really is. After all, we are lay people, the people in the game know more than we do.

James Tomkins

I’ll be honest and say I didn’t know much about Tomkins before he arrived at Selhurst Park. After some investigation it seems he is quite a competent if one footed player who West Ham fans were, on the whole, sorry to see leave.

While I am sure Tomkins will become a good addition to the team and go on to be a solid defender I have to once again point to the fact that we didn’t have competition for his signature.

Does a player have to have several clubs after him to be thought of as a good player?

No, not really, but it makes you wonder why we had a clear run at him. There is a shortage of good defenders available and good English defenders are even rarer these days so why were there no other clubs on the same level as us after Tomkins? It also makes me question how good a signing he is.

Christian Benteke

Many of you would have been blinded by the £27m (plus addons) price tag and jump to the conclusion that he has to be our signing of the summer. The goals he scored for Aston Villa, the fact he is an international and his ability to win a penalty (sarcasm alert) are all admirable qualities. However…

In Euro 2016, when Belgium were losing to Wales and needed goals Christian was left on the bench. That’s not the be all and end all, is it? No but it told me he wasn’t in the top 3 strikers in the Belgium squad thus taking the shine off of how much of a coup his signing was. Belgium needed a goal and 3 other strikers were on the pitch, good strikers but still.

I’ll trot out my now familiar line about a lack of competition for his signature. Again there was talk about another club, in this case West Ham, being after Benteke but their target was Zaza and I think declaring interest in Benteke was a smokescreen.

So if Benteke is as much as a coup as we are being told he is why wasn’t anyone else after him? Was it the price tag? In which case, have we paid over the odds? Or was it because he isn’t the type of striker people want at the moment? People seem to want a fast pacy striker rather than someone who is ‘just’ good in the air.

All things considered, Benteke is a good signing. But not the best signing this summer!

Loic Remy

I’ll keep this one short, no! My opinion isn’t based on if the boy has talent because he does. It is based, once again, on that nobody else was interested in taking him on loan. There was an enquiry from West Ham but that was also a smokescreen for the Zaza deal.

And if Remy is such a good player, why have we not signed him now? Why have we paid £3m to take him on loan with an option to sign him for £10m next summer? If he was a coup for the club, as we are being force fed, we’d have snapped Chelsea’s arm off now!

I think Remy will prove to be a good signing too. He’ll score goals, but he isn’t our best signing this summer because that award goes to this man…

Steve Mandanda

For me, the signing of Mandanda is quite simply the biggest signing we’ve made since Attilo Lombardo! With all due respect to Yohan Cabaye.

Mandanda is the current France number 1 in the absence of Tottenham’s Hugo Loris. He spent 9 seasons at Marseilles playing 334 games. He is considered a legend by the club and they gave him a massive farewell party after Euro 2016 ended. They love him!

With Marseille, Mandanda won the league title (2009-10), Coupe de la Lique 3 times (2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12) and Trophee des Champions twice (2010, 2011).

Individually he was won Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year 4 times (2007-08, 2010-11, 2014-15, 2015-16), League 1 Team of the Year 4 times (2007-08, 2010-11, 2014-15, 2015-16) and Marseilles Olympian of the Season twice (2007-08, 2015-16)

In my opinion, Steve Mandanda is the most accomplished player in our squad. Sure, Cabaye has played more times for France and won more Ligue 1 titles (3) but he is an outfield player and played for the only team in France, PSG!

Quite frankly, how Mandanda only cost us £1.5m is beyond me, not to mention why he chose to come to Palace! I can only think Yohan Cabaye had an influence in that!

So, what about the thing I have banged on about with the previous 4 players, that there seemed to be a lack of competition for his signature. True but that seems to be something all 5 of our signings have in common so they all cancel each other out.

As a final word on the subject I’ll leave you with the opinion of respected French journalist Philippe Auclair who is a football writer of France Football in England who when asked his opinion of Steve Mandanda he simply said “magnificent” and wondered why we didn’t start him from the first game.

Steve Mandanda, you are our best signing of the last 20 years, not just this summer! We really do not know what a gem of a player we have!

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