After what felt like a major exodus of older names last summer, this year looks to be in the same mould. Last year was complicated by the long-term coaching search that seemed to go on forever. With the club built in the image of Patrick Vieira with a host of young talent, though, fans are naturally excited about what comes next. The exit of some of the club’s most senior players, though, could come as a shock to some.
One player who has decided to move on from the club is Martin Kelly. The defender might have only made 148 appearances in 8 years, but he has been wrecked by injury at the worst times in his career. A solitary appearance in the FA Cup was his sole reward this year, and it looks like Kelly has decided to move on from the club.
In an emotional Instagram post, Kelly noted: “To the fans, owners and managers at Crystal Palace FC. Thank you from me and my family. Since joining in August 2014 you guys have welcomed us like family, the loyalty you have shown us over the years I’ve already tried to repay with leaving nothing out there on the pitch. I came into a dressing room full of big characters and our top priority was always to compete in the Premier League – we did that.
“I feel now with the current manager and group of players, you guys have the best chance of going even further the next few seasons. Special memories me and my family will enjoy forever.”
Other veterans moving on in a major squad rebuild
While James McArthur has signed a new deal to keep him at the club for the next season to come, various others look set to leave as well. Three names who look certain to move on would be Nathaniel Clyne, James Tomkins, and Cheick Kouyate. The trio have been important players in the past for the Eagles, but have seen diminishing returns on game time and in playing standard for a while now.
The exit of all three would give valuable squad places and wages to the youngsters about to break into the team. It would also give Vieira and co. a chance to bring in some more veteran talent of their own as opposed to being stuck looking around the market for signings.
This is very exciting, and while it is a shame to see so many move on from the club it has felt needed for a while. Last summer was a breath of fresh air, with some players who simply stuck around too long being moved on. 2022 looks to be the same, and Palace fans should expect quite a different looking team to line up at Selhurst Park next season.
Farewell to those who have served the club well; we are sure that for several of these players it will not be the last time we see them in South London.