Dwight Gayle and Andros Townsend swap a good deal for Crystal Palace

Thursday was a big day for Crystal Palace as they made two big signings. Andros Townsend arrived from Newcastle, and goalkeeper Steve Mandanda joined from Marseille, while they also sold Dwight Gayle to Rafa Benitez's Magpies. Eagles fans have long been pleading with the club to get their transfer business done early in the window and this time Alan Pardew and co have complied. And it's fair to say supporters of the red and blue army are delighted.

It seems like everyone is getting something out of these deals. Palace are signing a proven Premier League quality winger who can get a cross into the box. Townsend will cost £13 million, which in this current market is a steal, even though it breaks the club's transfer record.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have also doubled their money on Gayle, a player that was never a first-team regular, while the Magpies have signed a striker that should get them at least 20 goals in the Championship. Gayle has finally found a team where he will get chances to play.

Even though the diminutive striker has been at the Eagles for three years, not once during that period could he have claimed to be a regular first choice up front for any of the four managers he played under. Ian Holloway signed him but preferred Marouane Chamakh. Tony Pulis used Gayle fleetingly as an impact substitute. Neil Warnock actually gave him his most chances but left quickly while current boss Pardew picked a striker he didn't really rate in Glenn Murray over Gayle.

Even in the summer of 2015 when given the choice to sell Gayle to Norwich or Murray to Bournemouth, Pardew chose to let Murray go, resigning Gayle to another season on the bench as he splashed £8m on Connor Wickham. For some reason Gayle was never seen as anything more than a backup striker or a good option off the bench despite having a decent scoring record for the Eagles.

He finished top Premier League goalscorer for the club in all three of his seasons at Selhurst despite not being first choice striker in any of those campaigns. He leaves Palace fans with some brilliant memories. Late winners against Aston Villa and Burnley secured precious points while he also nailed some brilliant free-kicks, including his last ever goal for the club against Stoke back in May. Then, of course, there was his one-man mission to upset Liverpool every time he played against them, including two very smart finishes to secure that famous comeback from three goals down to draw 3-3 back in May 2014, ruining the Reds' title chances.

He was deadly inside the penalty area and not since the likes of Andy Johnson or Ian Wright have Palace had someone so natural at sticking the ball in the net. But therein lied his main problem; he was excellent in the box but rarely offered much outside it. Apart from one appearances against Manchester United last season where he turned into an all-round striker and began out-jumping Marouane Fellaini and Phil Jones to win flick-on headers, he really was just a poacher and that was it for his career at Selhurst.

His main issue was the system that Palace play, which didn't suit his style. All four of those managers played their own variation on the 4-2-3-1 formation the Eagles adopted back in 2012 under Dougie Freedman and it was difficult to squeeze Gayle into that. He needs to be at a team that plays to his strengths and if Newcastle stick him up top in a traditional 4-4-2, like Leicester did to great effect as they won the title in 2015-16, he will flourish.

Meanwhile, record signing Townsend could be a huge signing. Palace already have two quality wingers in Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha but both still need to work on their delivery and could learn a lot from the England man. Competition for places out wide certainly won't be a bad thing and Eagles fans have seen Bolasie thrive at times (although not always) through the middle behind Wickham.

And in Mandanda, they have truly secured a world-class goalkeeper worthy of any of the Premier League's big boys. It's rare for Palace fans to get their wish and go into July happy with some big transfer news, but maybe this is a sign of things to come from the club. If it is, then Eagles supporters could be in for a very happy summer indeed.