To: Crystal Palace
Hennessey hit the headlines as a youngster on loan at Stockport when he set a Football League record of nine consecutive clean sheets back in 2007 and established himself as first-choice goalkeeper at parent club Wolves shortly afterwards. He was part of the Championship title winning team in 2009, going on to make over 70 top-flight appearances for the club before missing the entire of last season with a cruciate knee ligament injury. He joins Palace after proving his return to form and fitness during a spell on loan at Championship club Yeovil.
After refusing to play for Wolves at Gillingham in early January: "I have apologised to Kenny Jackett but I also wanted to apologise to the club and the supporters. I assumed that with the transfer speculation surrounding me it would make sense, both for me and the club, not to play in the game but I realise that I was wrong."
"I thought Crystal Palace were finished a few months ago but credit to the job Tony Pulis has done there. The goalkeeper is such a vital part of the team. Tony has built a lot of his teams on great defences so I think he'll want to make sure that position is right. Julian Speroni is a little erratic to say the least so I think they'll be wanting more solidity in that position from Hennessey." - Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville.
Could Pulis spend that £3m on Hennessey better elsewhere? We think Speroni's been more than solid this season.— The Offside Rule (@OffsideRulePod) January 31, 2014
Hennessey has proven he can perform in the Premier League and at 27 should be coming into his prime years as a goalkeeper. He has height, agility and can kick the ball well with either foot. With Speroni turning 35 in May, it would be no surprise to see Hennessey establish himself as the Eagles No 1 before too long.
The problem for Hennessey is that the potential that saw him capped by his country at the age of 20 is yet to be fully realised. Rather than progress, a combination of injury, errors and poor decision-making on and off the field has seen the player who was named Wolves player of the year back in 2008, find himself relegated to the role of third-choice keeper at a League One club at the time of his transfer. Given recent evidence, £3million is a lot of money.
More than seven years Speroni's junior, assuming he rediscovers his early promise, the acquisition of Hennessey makes some sense as a long-term investment. However, questions will be asked regarding the manager's judgement if Hennessey's sluggishness costs Palace points while the popular Speroni is sat on the bench.
What is your verdict on the signing of Wayne Hennessey?