1:50pm Thursday 19th April 2012
By Stephen Bridle
With this season already seemingly having died a premature death it’s no surprise that minds have turned to the next campaign and the highs and lows that it’s likely to bring.
The buzz word on everyone’s lips – mine included – at the moment is “excitement” and of course we’ll be wishing for plenty more of that as 2011-12 becomes 2012-13.
Let us forget for a minute though the lack of goals, chances and Olé’s so far this season and remember for a moment the solidity in defence we’ve seen that has been the major decisive factor in seeing us safe this year.
Young right-back Nathaniel Clyne has been a huge part of that success and, after winning last year’s coveted player of the year award, it’s no secret throughout English football that the England U21 international is hot property.
We’ve known for some time now the 20-year-old will leave Palace for pastures new, and my sources indicate the reported interest from Manchester United might hold a little more weight than the rumour columns it’s printed in.
With Alex Ferguson having publicly announced full-back Fabio’s intended loan move for next season, there will certainly be a place in the United team for a defender of Clyne’s quality – his help in the build up to Palace’s solitary goal against Ipswich at the weekend proves the lad can do a job going forward too.
So, looking ahead to next season, the main concern may not be where the goals are coming from, but rather who can we get in to replace a young player with such unique skill and reliability without having to pay a fortune?
Mustapha Dumbuya from Doncaster impressed during his short loan spell and seems the obvious choice.
With the Yorkshire side now certain to be playing their football in League One next year he could be there for the taking and I’m sure he’s already on the radar.
You’re never going to be able to replace Clyne like-for-like and he will be sorely missed, but, at 24, Dumbuya still has time to grow and would be a magnificent capture for Dougie and the club.
Stephen Bridle is a member of Palace fanzine Five Year Plan. Follow them on Twitter @fypfanzine or go to fiveyearplanfanzine. co.uk.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group