Crystal Palace are entering what will likely be a significantly busy transfer window for the club with a number of first-team players set to leave the club following the expiration of their contracts, as well as the hunt for a new manager hopefully reaching a climax in the coming weeks.
Roy Hodgson’s time at Selhurst Park has come to an end after nearly four years in the hot-seat in South London, and the search for his successor will prove to be a pivotal moment in the club’s history.
Hodgson has led the club to an unprecedented level of stability, the first manager to keep the club in the Premier League for four straight seasons and the first to see out his full contract.
But with change afoot, one thing that is relatively commonplace for Crystal Palace fans will be rumours about Wilfried Zaha’s future.
The attacker is no stranger to speculation, having left the club for Manchester United back in 2013 before returning on loan in 2014 and permanently in 2015.
Since then, Zaha has established himself as a serious threat in the Premier League, and with that comes speculation about clubs higher up the table coming in to take him away. The closest he came to leaving a second time looks to have been in 2019, when both Everton and Arsenal were vying for his signature.
Bids of around £70million were rejected, with Arsenal instead signing his Ivory Coast teammate Nicolas Pepe, while Everton completed a deal for Arsenal attacker Alex Iwobi.
The latest speculation about his future is that Everton remain keen on a deal for him, and are joined by Tottenham. Goal state that both clubs are interested in a deal worth around £40million.
The significantly lower price range would be because Zaha has just two years remaining on his contract, and apparently is unlikely to sign a new deal.
Zaha recently told The Face that: “I feel like I can have another shot at the top teams, because my dream is to win things.
“I’m good enough to go out there and compete with the best.
“If the opportunity came, I wouldn’t turn it down, because I feel like I deserve it. It’s so I can show my kids: ‘This is what daddy won’.”
A transfer for Zaha this season currently looks unlikely, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, that price will not be enough to tempt the club to sell their prize asset. You can look anywhere across Europe and find higher prices for less talented players, even last summer in a transfer window affected by the pandemic.
Any new manager coming into the club will want assurances on the playing squad and who they will be able to keep, as well as how much money they have available to shape the squad. The fact that Palace will likely have to replace players leaving on a free transfer this summer means sporting director Dougie Freedman and chairman Steve Parish will either have to be active in the loan and free market themselves, or make large funds available just to maintain the club’s footing.
This means that replacing a player of Zaha’s quality for the price quoted becomes near impossible. Zaha hit his highest ever goal tally this season after playing more of a central role, and his importance to the team cannot be understated.
That will become especially clear over the first months of the new season, with Eberechi Eze suffering an Achilles injury that is likely to rule him out until the new year and the creative burden likely falling more onto Zaha’s shoulders.
If Zaha truly wants to move on from Palace, then he is also in a difficult position. His exit will not be impossible, but it would require a club to pay Palace what they believe he is worth, and the current estimates fall some way short of that.
Source by Football London