Crystal Palace loads up for relegation battle

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New Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has signed three more players in the current transfer window in an attempt to avoid relegation at the end of the English Premier League season. bet365 says the team is 9/2 to be relegated this season.

Pardew announced on January 30 that the London-based club has acquired the services of midfielder Jordon Mutch, forward Shola Ameobi and fullback Pape Souare. Mutch agreed to terms on a 4.5-year contract while Ameobi is just under contract until the end of the season and terms of Souare’s deal weren’t released.

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The 23-year-old Mutch of England was transferred from fellow Premier League side Queens Park Rangers, who he had joined just prior to the 2014/15 campaign after leaving Cardiff City. However, he made only 11 appearances for QPR this campaign and was looking for a fresh start. Pardew said Mutch impressed him last year when he was playing for Cardiff. The manager claimed that the player has two good feet as well as excellent technique, but has been hampered by injuries. Pardew believes Mutch is also a good defensive player and has the ability to score goals for Palace as long as he can stay healthy. Mutch scored seven goals for Cardiff last year and had none QPR this season. He does have 16 goals in 152 career club games though.

The 33-year-old Ameobi of Nigeria, who formerly played in the Premier League with Newcastle United for 14 years, was acquired as a free agent from Turkish club Gaziantep. He hasn’t played since December though and Pardew feels it may take him a couple of weeks to get back into game condition. Pardew told the media, “Shola is a player that doesn’t play every game, he never did at Newcastle. But when big games come around he has this ability to raise his level. He scored fabulous goals for me in big games at Newcastle and that ingredient is important. He’s a real leader of men, a real gentleman. He’s more than just a player to me.” Ameobi has 82 goals in 402 career club appearances.

The 24-year-old Souare of Senegal was signed from French Ligue 1 team Lille and has just returned from the African Cup of Nations tournament in Equatorial Guinea. Souare has 10 goals in 124 career club matches. Pardew added that he didn’t know if Palace will be re-signing Manchester United forward Wilfried Zaha, who has been on loan since the beginning of the season. Zaha has played 18 matches for Palace this year and has just one goal to his name.

The manger did reveal that striker Glenn Murray re-signed with the team for another year. Murray scored 31 times in 45 games in the 2012/13 season to help Palace earn promotion into the Premier League from the second-tier Championship League. Murray was inexplicably loaned to Championship team Reading at the start of the current campaign, but has been recalled by Pardew.

Pardew also signed young French striker Yaya Sanogo on loan from Premier League club Arsenal during the transfer window and now believes his squad is deep enough to avoid relegation. Many fans don’t feel the same way though as the newcomers don’t represent the quality of players needed to stay in the Premier League. Heading into the Jan. 31st weekend Crystal Palace was sitting in 13th place in the standings, but were just four points above the league’s relegation zone.

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