Wilfried Zaha enjoyed the most prolific season of his career in 2021/22. Connor Gallagher went from budding young talent to England international.
Michael Olize dazzled, James McArthur dug in and Tyrick Mitchell pushed on.
So the fact that it was Marc Guehi, rather than Zaha, Olise or Gallagher, who took home the Players Player of the Year Award at Crystal Palace’s end-of-season awards is a testament not only to how he’s adapted to life at Selhurst Park and the Premier League in general, but also how valuable he is inside The Eagles dressing room.
“It is a pleasure to play with him for sure. Preach by example”, Palace teammate Joel Ward says of a man who has already captained the club several times at just 21 years old.
“His composure on the ball, his vision, his variety of passing… It’s great to watch and I think he has an extremely bright future.”
Tottenham Hotspur want Marc Guehi from Crystal Palace
Eyebrows were certainly raised last summer when Crystal Palace paid £18m to free Guehi from a lifetime of service in Chelsea’s so-called “loan army”.
But, after an excellent maiden campaign in the top flight and an England debut, how much would Guehi cost these days? A fee in the region of the £50m Manchester United paid for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at a similar stage in his development surely.
One thing is for sure, and that is that Crystal Palace will not give up Guehi without a fight. The mail revealing interest from Tottenham Hotspur as Antonio Conte and Fabio Paratici intensify their search for a left-sided central midfielder.
Regardless of whether Tottenham manage to lure Guehi away from Crystal Palace – and have no illusions, Spurs fans – there are still five years left on the Ivory Coast-born goalkeeper’s contract, Thomas Tuchel’s attempts to defend Chelsea’s decision of collecting certainly resonated. Quite empty at a time when Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have turned down contract extensions at Stamford Bridge.
“(Guehi has undergone a) fantastic development”, Tuchel told Football London in April. “It is very difficult to know what would have happened if we kept it.
“Maybe he needed a change, a different club, a bigger role, more minutes to develop his full potential.”
Marc Guehi; Chelsea’s last regret?
A fair point, perhaps. But it’s not that Chelsea were unaware of the situation regarding Rudiger and Christensen. Thiago Silva, for his part, turns 38 this year. Azpilicueta; 33.
What’s more, Guehi’s outstanding performances on loan at Swansea City – he was the rock at the heart of arguably the best defense in the Championship – means his seamless adaptation to life in the top flight will have taken few to watch. up close at Liberty Stadium by surprise.
In a season in which the former Kevin de Bruyne was named Premier League Player of the Year, in which Mo Salah scored 31 goals in all competitions, in which Fikayo Tomori helped AC Milan win their first Premier League title Serie A in a decade, Guehi’s eye… catching the emergency is further proof that a big-spending club like Chelsea doesn’t always need to look elsewhere for answers.
Sometimes the answer is right under your nose all the time.
In other news, Fabrizio Romano: Manchester United and Ten Hag hold talks over Tottenham’s £35m target