Crystal Palace have failed to sign two free agents to replace the injured Christian Benteke.

The Eagles were linked to Rickie Lambert and Alberto Gilardino after Benteke was ruled out with a knee injury for six weeks.

But Lambert announced his retirement from football on Monday, while Gilardino joined Serie B side Spezia.

Former Italy and AC Milan striker Gilardino was offered to the Eagles on a short-term deal last week. However, he opted to put pen-to-paper on a longer two-year deal with Spezia.

And Palace boss Roy Hodgson was believed to be interested in a reunion with Lambert, who was without a club after leaving Cardiff in the summer.

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The pair worked together during their time with the England national team.

And Lambert’s decision to call time on his playing career will come as another blow for Hodgson, who is desperately short of striker options.

With Benteke out and Conor Wickham still sidelined with a long-term knee injury, winger Bakary Sako has been playing as the club’s first-choice number nine.

Palace are bottom of the Premier League after losing their opening seven games and failing to score.