This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
When then-23-year-old Yannick Bolasie (who was recently the subject of pleads from supporters online to come back) joined Crystal Palace in late-August of 2012 for an undisclosed fee (reported to be £567k by Transfermarkt), few could have predicted the impact he would have at Selhurst Park.
In the 11/12 season, the player only appeared in half of the Championship games for Bristol City, being mainly utilised as a substitute for the Robins – which makes Dougie Freedman’s signing all the more impressive.
The following season at Selhurst Park was one which will be remembered for years and years to come. Just three seasons after the club was saved from the brink of extinction by the CPFC 2010 consortium, an exciting Palace team full of flair was able to reach the big time again – eight years after they were last there in 2005.
Under Dougie Freedman, the forward was given a much more influential role and was trusted to play a big part in that campaign. With a team that boasted Bolasie on the left, Wilfried Zaha on the right and Glenn Murray up top, the Eagles quickly became a real threat.
While under Ian Holloway the winger didn’t start any of the play-off matches, his influence made all the difference in what will be remembered by many Palace fans as one of the most enjoyable games in this millennium. While they were drawing 0-0 away at their arch-rivals Brighton in the second-leg of the play-offs, Bolasie came on and made all the difference. His bit of trickery on the left-hand flank managed to get him some room to whip in a cross, and Zaha managed to nip in behind Wayne Bridge to head Palace into a lead and send their fans into raptures.
The tricky-winger soon became a much better player when playing in the Premier League each week. With Zaha leaving for Manchester United, the player took the role as the main-man at Selhurst Park, and boy did he rise to it.
While missing the first six matches under Holloway, he became a really important player for Pulis and would rarely not start a game for them. In his first season in the Premier League, he managed four assists in 29 games – the most notable being a cutback for Dwight Gayle as he brought the scores back to 3-2 in the famous Crystanbul fixture where Palace drew 3-3 with Liverpool on the penultimate game of the season to essentially ruin their title hopes.
The 14/15 season was a coming of age one for the ex-Plymouth ace. With his old mate Zaha back in the fold, Palace continued to terrorise defenders with the threat of both dribblers, and Bolasie took the main stage. He played in every game that season – apart from the ones missed from the Africa Cup of Nations – and he managed four goals and a huge 11 assists from his 34 appearances. He again tore apart Liverpool on the penultimate game of the season, this time creating two assists as they defeated the Reds 3-1 at Anfield.
Bolasie kept improving. In his final full-season for the club, he managed to add more goals to his game. His season was slightly hampered by injury, but he still managed five goals and four assists, as well as a goal in the FA Cup semi-final against Watford, as Palace got to their first cup final since 1990 and their second ever – which they, unfortunately, lost again to Manchester United.
The following season, Bolasie caught the eye of other Premier League clubs who had recognised his consistent and exciting performances on the wing for Palace, and on August 15, his career ended at Selhurst Park with a £25m move to Everton.
After such a big fee, a career on Merseyside has been plagued by injuries. The Congolese winger was only able to play 29 league games for Everton before he was subsequently loaned out to Aston Villa, Anderlecht and now Sporting Lisbon. Indeed, with that in mind, getting £25m for him looks a real steal.
In his time at the club, he played 143 times and scored 13 goals. He was a key part of one of Palace’s best ever spells as a club in recent memory; helping promotion, helping them solidify in the top-tier and then also getting them into an FA Cup Final.
All in all, he cost just over half a million and was sold for over 44 times the amount that was paid for him, so there is no doubt that this bit of business was a stroke of genius from Dougie Freedman and the Palace recruitment team.
What are your fondest memories of him as an Eagle? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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