Crystal Palace faced the difficult task of replacing their two most effective attackers this summer, with Wilfried Zaha completing his move to Manchester United, and Glenn Murray set to undergo surgery that will see him side-lined at the start of next season.
Ian Holloway has already signed Peterborough’s exciting young forward Dwight Gayle, and he might aim to pair the 22-year-old with an experienced hand by bringing in West Brom’s out of favour striker Peter Odemwingie.
Odemwingie’s escapades on deadline day in January will not have endeared him to many fans around the country, but the 31-year-old has been an important player for West Brom over the past three seasons either playing through the centre or on the flanks of an attack.
The Nigerian’s has scored 30 goals in 87 Premier League appearances for West Brom, but Palace will be hoping he will replicate the form he showed in his first season at the Hawthorns, when he netted 15 times.
Odemwingie will also be a good foil for the inexperienced Gayle, who was playing non-league football just two years ago.
Gayle scored 13 times for Peterborough as they were relegated from the Championship last season, but making the step up to the Premier League will be a huge challenge, and having Odemwingie’s experience should give Palace a good balance to their attack.
Both players are risks, but both have plenty to prove. Odemwingie is desperate to rehabilitate his reputation, and Gayle is hoping to establish himself in the top flight after a meteoric rise up the football league.
It could end in disaster, if Odemwingie fails to find his best form and Gayle is shown to be out of his depth, but if it works out the two players could bring the best out of each other, and Ian Holloway will look like a very smart manager indeed.
image: © Mick Baker