Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has said transfer targets Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Wilfried Zaha are crucial as the Eagles look to next season.
Hodgson, who became the oldest manager to win his 100th Premier League game after Palace’s 5-3 win over Bournemouth on Sunday, was more circumspect about the club’s chances of signing Michy Batshuayi permanently from Chelsea.
Batshuayi scored a brace in the win at Selhurst Park and Wan-Bissaka and Zaha chipped in with an assist each.
Hodgson sees Palace as a club moving in the right direction, after a 12th place finish in the Premier League.
“I’ve answered that question [whether Palace can retain their star players] so many times,” Hodgson told a press conference.
“There’s nobody at the club who is anxious to see any of those players leave the club, in fact it’s the reverse. We’ve committed them to long-term contracts.”
“Batshuayi is a different case because he’s on loan. But [Zaha and Wan-Bissaka] are committed to us on long-term contracts and we believe they have an important part to play here.
“We shouldn’t forget, yes there is a top six up there, but if you take the other teams we are not light years away. Last year we missed out on 10th place on goal difference, this year we’ve missed ninth place by one point.
“I think we can offer as a football club a team which is competitive, isn’t miles away from the top half of the table and a team that plays good football and can get results.”
The ex-England boss is unsure if a move for Batshuayi may be complicated by parent club Chelsea’s transfer ban but said he and the player would be happy if a way could be found for him to remain in South London.
The Belgium international striker scored five times in 11 appearances after joining in January.
“We don’t know [if the transfer ban will affect a move]. All I know is if Michy Batshuayi is going to be available and if our club could bring him here; either on-loan or buying him I would be very happy with that and I know Michy himself would be happy.
“When players belong to another club you can say ‘we would like him’ but then there has to be an agreement struck between the two clubs.”