There are few things better in football than snapping up a player for nothing, before watching them go on to become a cult hero.
In Crystal Palace’s case, the Eagles have been savvy in the market in this fashion on many an occasion.
From snapping up three promotion heroes, to replacing a club legend for nothing, here are four incredible freebies signed by the south Londoners in recent years…
As aforesaid, there are few things better than securing a free transfer who becomes a success. However, one thing which is better than doing that is to sign one from your arch-rivals.
That is exactly what Palace did when swooping to sign Glenn Murray from Brighton in 2011. The Englishman went on to score 47 goals for the Eagles, including an incredible 30 Championship strikes in 2012/13 as promotion was secured under Ian Holloway.
Another pillar in the side who earned promotion was Mile Jedinak.
The Australian colossus arrived at Selhurst Park as a fresh-faced free agent in July 2011 after leaving Turkish outfit Genclerbirligi in June of that year.
Jedinak went on to captain Palace in an FA Cup final, making 179 appearances for the south Londoners in total.
How does a club replace a legend who amassed 403 appearances for them?
Well, Crystal Palace provided a pretty good example when signing Vicente Guaita to replace the retiring Julian Speroni.
The Spanish shot-stopper has captured the hearts of the Selhurst Park faithful with some phenomenal displays, keeping 21 clean sheets in 67 appearances so far.
This is a quite remarkable story. Damien Delaney was on the verge of quitting football before Dougie Freedman brought him to Selhurst Park on a free transfer in 2012, and the rest is history.
The Irishman made 193 appearances for the Eagles in total, starting an FA Cup final for the club while proving to be a leader amongst the squad.
It still feels bizarre that it was Freedman who needed to convince the centre-back to even come and train at the club, after his heart was no longer in the game (The Guardian).