Few teams have wielded their freshly-loaded wallets with the same vigour as Crystal Palace so far this summer, but their aggressive spending strategy seems to be a diversion from the grim fate that awaits.
The Eagles have dipped deep into a transfer war chest stacked higher than ever with Premier League TV money to sign £13m Andros Townsend and £10m James Tomkins already, while speculation is rife that a £31.5m bid has been dropped in Liverpool’s pigeon hole in exchange for Christian Benteke.
Such unprecedented exuberance promises an exciting campaign for Alan Pardew’s troops and, as it’s only early July, their frenzied splurging could continue for a while yet.
Based on Palace’s emphatic collapse last time around – no league win from mid-December to early April saw them fall from European qualification contenders to the fringes of the relegation battle – a large-scale squad refurbishment is paramount, but even that mightn’t be enough to stave off the drop.
It’s safe to assume that were it not for a silver-lining run to the FA Cup final, Pardew’s position at the helm would’ve come under greater scrutiny.
Despite donning the pilot’s goggles as Palace nosedived towards the Premier League’s nether regions, the cotton-topped coach’s superiors hold him in higher regard than ever judging by the unlimited privileges he has been afforded on the company credit card.
But, ironically, it’s this job-saving trip to the FA Cup showpiece that has sparked Palace’s demise.
Both the previous beaten finalists, Aston Villa and Hull City, were relegated in the season that followed their unlikely appearances under the Wembley arches.
Worryingly for Palace, the demoted duo both splashed the cash in the months that followed their final date too.
Villa’s outlay was rumoured to be north of the £50m mark, yet they still finished bottom by a considerable distance last time around, while Hull went down too after forking out for Robert Snodgrass, Jake Livermore and record signing Abel Hernandez, among many others.