When the announcement came that Max Meyer would be joining Crystal Palace, the world of football was shocked.
Meyer, once the heir to the throne of German football and a player many considered to be at the heart of the Germany national team for years to come, was swapping the working class area of the Ruhr Valley for Croydon.
It was a transfer that was met with surprise at first, but then excitement. Here we have a genuinely great player jumping out of his comfort zone for a club that wants to achieve more than just being able to survive the Premier League.
Seven months later, and it looks like all Meyer and Palace will accomplish this season is Premier League survival and a decent FA Cup run.
Palace has always been a club that aims to be ambitious, but when push comes to shove the ending result is always a team that do ‘just enough’, something that Eagles fans will sadly agree with.
Meyer hasn’t failed at the club, the club have failed Meyer. But how?
Since returning to the Premier League, Palace have always played it safe on all areas of the pitch. From lacklustre managerial appointments to just okay signings, the club is yet to truly be stick to an ambitious plan and execute it.
We all remember Frank de Boer’s spell at the club. The former Inter Milan manager was seen as an exciting appointment for Palace and a man who could take the club in a new, bold direction. And what happened? He was gone 10 weeks into his three-year contract and immediately replaced with a safe managerial option.
Whether or not de Boer would have taken Palace down to the Championship is an opinion piece for another day, but the message that sacking showed is something that still sticks with the club. The lack of ambition at the club is as low as you can get for a Premier League side, and Meyer knows this.
The 23-year-old midfielder has been a big underwhelming flop at the club, there are no two ways about it. Here we have a player that the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool were interested in signing when it was announced he will be leaving Schalke at the end of last season, so how has he failed to make an impact at Palace?
For starters, it took a while for Meyer to cement himself as a starter in Hodgson’s team. His first start came at the start of October in a 2-1 loss to Bournemouth, and his only real spell of consecutive starts for the games was between the start of November to the New Year, where he started nine games in a row in the Premier League.
Meyer has never been a player to produce big numbers in goals or assists, but even the most pessimistic of Palace fans would admit that they expected more output from the German this season.
Meyer was an ambitious signing, to begin with. A talented midfielder who had lost the love for his boyhood club and decided to take a different approach to his career. But at what cost? The German is stuck at a club that can only pray for a midtable finish at best and playing under a manager that is more than comfortable to play it safe in most games.
Palace simply lacks the ambition to progress any further as a Premier League side, and if they’re not careful this lack of ambition might come around to haunt them in the future.
Crystal Palace fans, what do you think about the future of your club?