Crystal Palace supporters have been digesting reports over the course of the last week that Wilfried Zaha has emerged as a transfer target for Borussia Dortmund, but German football expert Raphael Honigstein’s analysis of the reported interest suggests a potential deal is unlikely.
A report from German media outlet Bild published last Wednesday claimed that Dortmund are turning their attention towards Zaha in light of their decision to sell Christian Pulisic to Chelsea.
The same report claimed that talks between both parties have already taken place, suggesting that interest is serious during a time in which Premier League talents are moving to Germany with notable regularity, although Roy Hodgson moved to deny claims that Dortmund had made an approach last Friday (as per Sky Sports).
That Dortmund are clearly financially well placed to conclude a deal naturally adds a weight of legitimacy to reports, but Honigstein has joined Hodgson by moving to pour cold water over recent reports.
While speaking on Sky Sports’ Transfer Talk podcast, the highly-respected German football journalist suggested that Zaha is too established for a typical Dortmund signing.
“Zaha fits the bill in many ways. They’re always looking for pace, they’re always looking for players who are growing, who can develop, who perhaps they can sell on in a couple of years for even more money to an absolute elite club.
“The only question mark I have behind the story is traditionally, historically Dortmund have looked to buy the likes of Zaha before they are established. Dembele is a good example, Pulisic is a good example, Jadon Sancho is a good example.”
Honigstein later went on to add: “With Zaha they’ll get someone who is already proven to a certain extent in a top league in European football and you wonder if the price-tag will actually match their strategy.
“That’s the one query I have in terms of whether this will go through or not.”
While Honigstein has not completely ruled out the credentials of the mooted deal, his reference to quintessential Dortmund transfer targets hints that Zaha would come at too high a price for a player of his age and experience.
The manner in which they have already profited from Pulisic and Dembele and could yet profit from the insatiable Sancho suggests their strategy is shrewd in both footballing and financial terms, so why change now?
Dortmund are flying high at the top of the Bundesliga table and strutting their stuff with an imperious swagger which bears resemblance to some of their finer performances under Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp before him, and their success owes a great deal of credit to their work in the transfer market.
Perhaps Dortmund have seen something in Zaha which is worth breaking tradition for, but Honigstein’s analysis of the current situation strongly suggests that there is no reason for alarm bells to be ringing amongst the Eagles faithful.
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