Crystal Palace recently announced the signing of Nick Carle from Bristol City, signalling their acknowledgement that their star midfielder will be leaving Selhurst Park, with ex-manager Ian Dowie waiting in the wings.
Ben Watson’s refusal to sign a “final offer” from Crystal Palace on 20th June has thrown his future into doubt, with his current deal expiring in 12 months. Palace now face a dilemma: Do they sell their homegrown player or keep him for a year and lose him on a free transfer in 2009?
Ex-Palace manager Ian Dowie, now at QPR, is hoping to tempt him away from Selhurst Park with the Hoops’ new found wealth and optimistic promotion challenge. Watson helped Palace to the Premier League in a starring role under Dowie, and he will be keen to reignite that winning formula at Loftus Road.
Eagles boss Neil Warnock says that Palace have done all they can to keep Watson, but his heart lay elsewhere:
Ben has rejected our contract offer, which would have made him the highest-paid player at the club and his agent is hinting to me that he might want to try something new.
Palace are thought to have rejected QPR’s inital offer of £1.25million, but with Watson free to talk to clubs in six months, can they hope to receive much more?