The Crystal Palace fans were celebrating in the Transfer Tavern this weekend after their side mathematically ensured that they will remain in the top-flight next season, but recent reports regarding the future of Wilfried Zaha have dampened their spirits.
Roy Hodgson has masterminded a brilliant survival effort this season since taking the reigns at Selhurst Park early in the season, and he would certainly merit some form of alternative manager of the year award following his success with the club. The former England boss owes a great debt to Wilfried Zaha for the quality of his form during the season so far, as it’s likely that Palace would be staring down the barrel of relegation without him.
Zaha (valued at £22.5 million by Transfermarkt) has bagged 8 goals and provided 5 assists from his 28 appearances in the Premier League so far this season, but it’s the overall flair and intensity he injects into Palace’s attack which is arguably his most impressive attribute. The Ivory Coast international strikes fear into the opposition with his direct style of dribbling and frighteningly quick-feet in the final-third.
Zaha is beginning to prove that he has the end-product to match his build up play – a compliment which has rarely been afforded to Zaha in the past – but now that he has added the finishing touches to his game it seems he could be set for a move to a top-four club next season. According to The Sun, Zaha has emerged as a target for Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea this summer and he is willing to quit Palace in search of European football.
Considering the rate of Zaha’s improvement this season, the interest which has emerged from England’s top clubs is far from surprising. It appears that Hodgson will have a mammoth task on his hands this summer in trying to convince his star player to remain at Selhurst Park, and there could be grave consequences for the club if he fails to do so.
Players of Zaha’s calibre are difficult to replace, especially for a side who cannot offer Champions League or Europa League football to a potential new signing and, on the basis that Palace have lost all 8 of their Premier League matches in which Zaha has been absent this season, the club will almost certainly be relegated next season if they fail to successfully fend off interest from outside the club.
Crystal Palace fans – thoughts? Let us know below!