Why Crystal Palace received the better deal for Everton signing Yannick Bolasie
It’s hard to see a club idol leave. These players, who have done so much and served the club with passion and pride, soon become synonymous with the team and watching them be sold makes us feel that a part of the club’s identity is also being put up for sale.
Yannick Bolasie had become such a player, having been with the club since 2012. After his signing from Bristol City, the Congolese international began terrorising Championship fullbacks and helping lead Crystal Palace to the Premier League after a wild campaign, during which Ian Holloway took the reins after Dougie Freedman’s abrupt and sour departure mid-season.
“Yala”, as the fans call him, was there when Palace beat Brighton in the Playoff semis against arch-nemesis Brighton at the Amex, setting up Wilfried Zaha for the opener. He was there after Kevin Philipp’s goal that took Palace to the promise land. He was there when Pulis led Palace to an amazing Premier League survival. He terrorised fullbacks in the Premier League this time. He humiliated Cristian Eriksen with the cheeky “Bolasie flick” that took him viral. And, he became the first Palace player to score a hattrick in the Premier League.
But on Saturday, Palace fans got their last glimpse of their favorite Congolese as he came on as a second-half sub in a disappointing 1-0 loss at the hands of West Brom. He has now said farewell to his teammates in South London, having joined Everton in a £25 million deal (£30 million with add-ons).
As sad as it is to see him go, Bolasie’s sale is a huge chance for the club. Bolasie’s true monetary value is a hot topic, with most people claiming that the fee is absurdly high for a winger who bagged 5 goals and 3 assists. Stats alone don’t prove a player’s worth or performance. Bolasie’s energy and unpredictability can carve attacks out of nothing. He’s dynamic on the counterattack and his pace and energy give the team, in general, a boost. His wing play doesn’t always directly assist a goal but it probes defenders and unnerves them, helping his team turn the tide of dominance.
However, a minimum fee of £25 million is a snag for manager Alan Pardew. Palace doesn’t particularly need wingers. Wingers are one of Palace’s strongest area of the pitch. Zaha provides the same flare and unpredictability of Bolasie and Andros Townsend provides a more balanced style of play with a better end-product.
Moreover, in 2012 Palace only paid Bristol City £350,000 for Bolasie. If the add-ons of the deal wth Everton are triggered the Eagles will make almost a 100-fold return.
Beyond Zaha and Townsend, Palace has squad depth in youngster Sulley KaiKai, who impressed while out on loan last year and during preseason, and in Jason Puncheon, who is able to play on the wing.
Taking the hefty offer will give Palace new opportunities to invest in a proven and reliable striker; a Palace fan’s greatest fantasy. The West Brom match made it clearer than ever that Conor Wickham does not have the talent or the consistency to lead the line for the Eagles as a definitive starter.
The money from Bolasie’s transfer could make the Benteke deal finally succeed and solve Palace’s striker crisis. Otherwise, Palace could pursue other big-name forwards such as Wilfried Bony.
And then comes the reason fans don’t like to hear. A player no longer wants to play for the club. Yannick Bolasie seems set on the move and Alan Pardew admitted after the West Brom match that the Congolese’s “heart and soul may be elsewhere [now]”.
Bolasie has played with his heart on his sleeve for the last four years and been a faithful servant to the club but a player who no longer wants to play makes for a toxic atmosphere. As a Palace fan, I can only thank him for his service to the club and for how he contributed to putting the club on the map.
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