Premier League season over, transfer window open, Wilfried Zaha wants to leave Crystal Palace. Nothing new there then.
The Ivory Coast international has been linked with a move away from Selhurst Park every summer for as long as I can remember, but he’s always been priced out of a move elsewhere because he manages to keep Palace in the Premier League.
A move to Tottenham was denied when they wouldn’t meet the asking price, while Everton had a £70million bid rejected last summer because Roy Hodgson’s side were holding out for £80million. Arsenal were also interested but instead opted for Nicolas Pepe for a similar fee but one they could pay in instalments instead of cash up front to a fellow Premier League side.
After once again helping Palace stay in England’s top division, Roy Hodgson revealed immediately after the game that Zaha has once again made it clear to the club that he wants to leave South London.
“It’s obviously affected him because his form in the last few weeks has really been quite poor considering what he is capable of doing.
“It’s a dilemma for the club and a dilemma for him if he is so set on leaving. If he feels he just does not want to be with us any more, that would be sad.
“We still like him very much; we can’t make him like us. This is a situation that only he and the club can sort out. I don’t have an answer.“
Reports suggest that Palace will maintain their £80million asking price, but with the COVID-19 pandemic still rife across the world, it’s highly expected that transfer fees will radically drop from the norm this summer.
Plenty of clubs, including Palace, have seen a huge drop in income due to the lack of fans at games. This means clubs need money from player sales but also that clubs have less to spend to bring those players in. Top clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona have already publicly ruled out big money signings this summer, citing the fact they had to ask players to take a pay-cut as the main reason.
If Zaha is as intent on leaving the club this summer as Hodgson says he is, there is no way on Earth they fetch £80million for him. He’s now 27 years old and wants to challenge for titles and play in Europe. Crystal Palace cannot offer him that and he has been as professional as possible during his time at the club despite never being allowed to leave.
Borussia Dortmund could look to bring him in as a replacement for Manchester United target Jadon Sancho, although they are also linked with Jeremie Boga who fits their model of signing younger players much more than a big-money signing like Zaha does. Another option for the former Manchester United man is if Tottenham reignite their interest.
Jose Mourinho was able to bring in Steven Bergwijn in January to boost their attacking options after losing Christian Eriksen. With Heung-Min Son, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura also options for Spurs, Zaha would likely not be an immediate option for strengthening. However long-standing interest and the fact that Lamela is now 28 years old and has two years left on his contract. Zaha would be an upgrade on Lamela and it means the Argentine could look to move on.
Everton could also look to reignite their interest but with Carlo Ancelotti now in charge, it’s unknown if he is still a target for the Goodison Park side.
The reality is that options are slim for Zaha this summer, but it’s the perfect time for him to leave. He’s kept Palace safe, they need the extra funds after this pandemic and clubs will be willing to sign him for a lower fee than what Palace initially demanded for him.
It’s just a case of who wants him the most now.