Crystal Palace attacker Christian Benteke has opened up on Wilfried Zaha’s ‘professional’ response to not being sold by the club.
The Ivory Coast international has been linked away with the club pretty much all summer, however, Zaha was unable to get the move he craved as Palace saw him as too indispensable and no one could match their valuation – rumoured to be at above £80m (Metro).
Zaha, 26, was strongly rumoured to join Everton or Arsenal, yet a deal was never finalised, despite offers from both and an eventual transfer request, states The Guardian.
Belgian striker Christian Benteke was asked about Zaha in a post-match interview about the game against Everton, and he shed some light on the saga which sits over Selhurst Park.
He told the club website: “I know how big he has been for this team and this club.
“I think that this chapter of his transfer is behind him; he is a professional, he didn’t argue at all, he showed he can do and hopefully he is now going to be back to his best”.
It’s vital for Palace that this gets put behind them and they get the best version of him they can possibly get for at least until January.
Zaha’s importance to Palace is obvious; in fact, there is a strong case to say that there is no side within the Premier League that relies as heavily on one player as much as Palace do on Zaha.
A stat that suggests this comes from @OptaJoe on Twitter. It’s claimed that since January 1 2017, Palace have won just six points from a possible 45 in the 15 Premier League games that Zaha hasn’t played a part in (W2, D0, L13).
6 – Since January 1st 2017, Crystal Palace have won just six points from a possible 45 in the 15 Premier League matches that Wilfried Zaha hasn't played any part in (W2 D0 L13). Influence. pic.twitter.com/uJsHk8DtPZ
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 8, 2019
However, even though Zaha looked very discontent at Palace during the summer window – as proven by his transfer request and his brother publicly coming out and saying that he wants to join Arsenal, per Sky Sports News – he has since thanked the Palace fans for the reception he got at the weekend vs Everton.
Just two days after the player handed in a request to push a move to Everton, he found himself coming off the bench to play against them.
It’s good news for Palace that Zaha looks to have settled a bit since the transfer window.
Even though it’s clear he wanted his move away, having him fit and focussed can only be a positive for the Eagles, who so clearly rely on him.
Benteke’s comments certainly suggest that Palace will have a player who will play to the maximum of his powers despite not getting the move he wants.
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