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Crystal Palace flop Steve Mandanda into World Cup final

The Frenchman played in the group stage against Denmark.

Mathew Nash

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France are into the World Cup final after defeating Belgium in the semi-finals last night. Les Bleus won 1-0 thanks to a header from Samuel Umtiti and will now face England or Croatia in the final.

Amongst the celebrations, Crystal Palace fans certainly noticed one face above others. Steve Mandanda was one of the first to run onto the pitch and celebrate with his team-mates.

The 33-year-old could now find himself winning a World Cup winner’s medal, two years after joining Palace and flopping at Selhurst Park.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Mandanda arrived on a free transfer from Marseille in July 2016 as he wanted a change after nine years at the Stade Velodrome.

But his time at Palace was a disaster, despite his previous heroics in Ligue 1. Mandanda played just 10 times for Palace, keeping one clean sheet, before having to undergo a knee operation in November. His last appearance came in a 3-2 loss to Burnley in November 2016 and did not play again for the Eagles.

Instead, he returned to Marseille last summer in a protracted deal that left Mandanda disappointed.


“Leaving Crystal Palace? Yes, it was hell.”

– Steve Mandanda on Crystal Palace exit


He went on to play 45 times last season, helping Marseille to the Europa League final. This is his fifth major tournament with the French national team and he even played against Denmark in the group stage.

Crystal Palace were right to make a move for Mandanda and he might have finally solved their goalkeeping problems. However, it never happened for him in London and Palace fans will be shocked to see him on the verge of a World Cup medal. Unless, England have anything to say about it.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

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Crystal Palace

Yann M’Vila would be Yohan Cabaye upgrade at Crystal Palace

The Frenchman has been capped 22 times for his country.

Max Cohen

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Yann M’Vila
Photo: Getty Images

Earlier this summer reports from France Football linked midfielder Yann M’Vila with a move to Crystal Palace and, after Yohan Cabaye’s departure, there have been more links between the two parties, per Foot Mercato.

M’Vila would be an upgrade on Cabaye at Selhurst Park, as the midfielder is a combative deep-lying presence who also possesses superb vision.

The 28-year-old has been capped 22 times by France, an impressive accolade that reveals his quality amid a star-studded national team.

M’Vila featured prominently during Les Bleus’ Euro 2012 campaign and, although his last cap came at that tournament, his international record nevertheless reveals his quality.

A largely unsettled career followed his eye-catching spell at Rennes, as M’Vila bounced around Europe at clubs such as Inter Milan, Saint Etienne, and Rubin Kazan.

But while at Sunderland on loan in 2015/16, M’Vila enjoyed a stellar season, earning him the respect of the Black Cats faithful while keeping the club in the Premier League.

The Frenchman made played in every league match but one for Sunderland, scoring one tremendous free-kick and assisting five additional goals as he was integral in steering the Mackems to safety.


“[M’Vila] reads the game like Makélélé, has the presence of Vieira and can pass the ball like Yaya Touré.”

– former Rennes manager, Frederic Antonetti.


Although Sunderland failed to bring him back the following season, that decision was due to Ellis Short’s incompetence and many fans wanted him to return to the Stadium of Light.

His influential season in England is a good sign for Palace supporters, showing he can cut it in the Premier League and can operate effectively in difficult circumstances.

Surrounded by players of a higher quality at Selhurst Park, the Frenchman will thrive and provide Roy Hodgson’s side with an ideal mix of steel and panache in the centre of the park.

Crystal Palace should welcome M’Vila’s unique set of skills, which would represent an upgrade to their other departing French midfielder, Yohan Cabaye.

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Chelsea

Ruben Loftus-Cheek must elevate his career and opt for permanent Crystal Palace move

The 22-year-old looks set to leave Stamford Bridge for a second season, on loan.

Max Cohen

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Photo: Getty Images

Reports this week in the Evening Standard claimed Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be looking to move away from Stamford Bridge this summer on loan.

Crystal Palace is reportedly at the front of the queue to sign him, news which will be greeted by Palace supporters given Loftus-Cheek’s excellent 2017/18 season at Selhurst Park.

Yet to truly make a name for himself, Loftus-Cheek must take his career to the next level and complete a permanent move to Crystal Palace this summer.

After Loftus-Cheek’s impressive World Cup appearances, it is clear he is a top talent ready to play consistent first-team football at his parent club.

But Chelsea are currently mired in uncertainty, with rumours swirling about a potential new manager but with nothing confirmed.

(Photo by Ozan Kose/Getty Images)

The Englishman would do well to secure a permanent transfer with the Eagles, an upward-looking club where he has found his best form to date.

A second loan in a row would just stunt his progress another year, psychologically affecting the player by reminding him he is not good enough for Chelsea, even after proving himself on international football’s biggest stage.

At this stage of his career, Loftus-Cheek needs a permanent home – and he can find a perfect one at Palace.

With his long-term future secured in south London, Loftus-Cheek can lead the Eagles to previously unheard of heights. Why keep yourself at a club in disarray that has shown little interest in you, when you can head to Selhurst Park where you are truly celebrated for your talents?

Instead of a second consecutive short-term and short-sighted loan, Ruben Loftus-Cheek needs to make up his mind this summer and finally leave behind his toxic Chelsea relationship for a move to Crystal Palace.

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Crystal Palace

Why Yohan Cabaye’s move to the Middle East just doesn’t make sense

The 32-year-old left Selhurst Park after a stellar season.

Max Cohen

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Yohan Cabaye
Photo: Getty Images

Earlier this week, French midfielder Yohan Cabaye completed a move to Arabian Gulf League side Al Nasr following the expiration of his contract at Crystal Palace.

The transfer is a baffling move for the 32-year-old central midfielder, as Cabaye was essential to Palace’s survival last season and still possessed the ability to perform at the highest level. 

In Cabaye’s 100-plus appearances for the Eagles, he established himself as a firm fan favourite and an incredibly consistent performer.

Contributing intelligent forward passes and well-honed technique as well as defensive fortitude, the Frenchman was the ideal Premier League midfielder at Selhurst Park. 

His statistics reveal the exceptional impact he had at Palace Not only did Cabaye lead all Eagles in interceptions last season, he bested all other players in the Premier League, with the exception of N’Golo Kante.

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

That stunning accolade reveals how good Cabaye was, as he not only excelled at club level, but was among the best at snuffing out play in the entire division.

It is this elite level of performance that makes his transfer to Al Nasr even the more baffling.

Why leave Palace on good form when he had established himself as an integral part of the team? And why depart to the Arabian Gulf League of all places?

Cabaye clearly could have been a key cog in Roy Hodgson’s set-up next season, and would have been crucial to Palace’s attempt to break into the top half of the Premier League.

Yet, instead, he will be plying his trade in a division that would be generously described as a glorified retirement league. 

Sadly, one must assume the decision boiled down to money, as it can be inferred the 32-year-old will be bringing home a hefty paycheck from the Dubai-based club.

Cabaye’s decision to not renew his contract at Selhurst Park and instead set sail for the Arabian Gulf League is hugely disappointing, providing another example of the money-motivated environment of modern football.

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