Premier League managers are in the process of drawing up winter shopping lists, with the doors to the January sales set to be thrown open at the turn of the year.
Bargains will be sought during a notoriously difficult market, with prices – unlike on the high street – tending to rise during the mid-season scrabble for fresh faces.
For those still searching for that elusive missing piece of the jigsaw, though, they will have little choice but to pay the going rate for new recruits.
That is not to say there is no value for money to be found, with it important to explore every avenue before settling on the identity of a top target.
Form must be taken into account, along with experience, with it important for those jostling for seats at English football’s top table to find additions that can slot seamlessly into the fold.
It is therefore often advisable to shop at home, with it difficult for those unaccustomed to Premier League life to rise to the surface when thrown straight in at the deep end.
Those harbouring ambitions of pushing for Europe could, therefore, be casting admiring glances in the direction of Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace are yet to produce the kind of form as a collective that they showed under Tony Pulis last season, but Yannick Bolasie is among those to have maintained his high standards as those around him have struggled for consistency.
The France-born DR Congo international put in another impressive showing against Liverpool on Sunday to keep himself firmly in the shop window, with his price tag likely to have risen on the back of another eye-catching display against a top-flight heavyweight.
|Position||Team||Match||Total Contest||Won Contest||Accurate Pass||Touches||Goal Assist||Total Scoring Att||Mins Played|
|Yannick Bolasie||MF||C. Palace||Arsenal vs C. Palace||7||2||6||38||0||0||89|
|Yannick Bolasie||MF||C. Palace||Man Utd vs C. Palace||6||1||7||35||0||0||81|
|Yannick Bolasie||MF||C. Palace||Everton vs C. Palace||5||2||15||48||0||2||87|
|Yannick Bolasie||MF||C. Palace||C. Palace vs Liverpool||4||3||21||46||1||4||86|
|Yannick Bolasie||MF||C. Palace||C. Palace vs Chelsea||3||1||13||37||0||0||90|
The Opta statistics above show that Bolasie’s performance against Liverpool was no one-off, with the tricky forward often saving his best for the big occasion.
That is what separates the great from the good, and while it is far too early to suggest that the 25-year-old is destined for greatness, he is doing his cause no harm at present.
The fact that he committed to a new three-year contract at Palace in August means he will not come cheap in the New Year, with the Eagles having moved quickly to tie down a man who was playing fourth tier football on loan at Barnet as recently as 2009/10.
Neil Warnock will not want to part with Bolasie either, with it vital that key men are retained in the scrap for Premier League survival.
He may see his resistance, and that of his board, tested to the full, though, with there plenty of clubs that could do with an injection of creativity for the second-half of the season.
Liverpool, tormented by Bolasie over the weekend, would look far more threatening with an out-and-out winger on their books – allowing them to provide better service to the likes of Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert – while Newcastle United will be expected to spend again in January and West Ham United may look for width as they seek to play to the strengths of Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole.