Wilfred Zaha’s youth career begun at Crystal Palace and progressed into his senior career, where he stayed until 2013 before leaving for Manchester United. He endured a difficult spell at Man United and returned to Crystal Palace on a permanent deal in 2015. In the summer of 2018, Zaha put pen to paper on a new five-year contract for around 130,000 pounds per week, making him the highest earner at Crystal Palace. During the last five years, Crystal Palace has seen Zaha become a crucial player whose talent doesn’t go amiss. The fans of Crystal Palace are of the view that their talisman has had a vital role in maintaining Crystal Palace’s status in the Premier League, but the question is, has the time come for Zaha to say goodbye to his boyhood club.
Zaha’s Crystal Palace’s future was up in the air before the start of last season when he tried to force an exit from Crystal Palace by submitting a transfer request. Despite handing in a transfer request last summer, Zaha started all 38 Premier League games, netting four goals and assisting five times. These numbers represent a significant dip in form. In the 2018-19 season, he managed to get ten goals and ten assists in 34 outings. It is a sort of decline that sets alarm bells ringing. However, Zaha showed some individual brilliance, including the penalty he won against Arsenal and the dribble that drew defenders for Jordan Ayew’s winner over Watford. He draws opponents towards him, creating space for others to exploit. It comes as little surprise that Zaha was the second most-fouled player in the just ended premier league campaign. Although Zaha endured a relatively quiet season, recent reports indicate that several teams are still interested in getting his services this summer.
Where will Zaha be plying his trade next season?
Zaha has shown an interest in wanting a new challenge for the 2020-21 season, but where could he be heading to if Crystal Palace receives a reasonable offer for him. Last summer, Everton was interested in Zaha but was unable to come up with a deal, and according to reports, Carlo Ancelotti and his Everton are still keen to sign him. After the mid-season appointment of Carlo Ancelotti, Everton is looking to spend big this summer because they have the ambition to become a big club. If Everton can land him this summer, a front three of Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, and Zaha would be very deadly. With the caliber of the manager in the team’s dugout, they could become fierce contenders for the top four anytime soon. With Zaha’s blend of pace, skill, and proven Premier League pedigree, he could be the missing jigsaw in Everton’s team. Another club that was interested in Zaha was Arsenal, but they were way off Crystal Palace’s asking price. Zaha did everything he could to force a transfer deal last summer, but Arsenal opted to sign Nicholas Pepe. There are rumors that Zaha supported Arsenal as a boy, so he is keen to play for the club. However, with the addition of Willian to the team this summer, it is unlikely that Arteta will go in for him. According to Crystal Palace’s former owner Simon Jordan, Tottenham could be the likely destination for Zaha. Tottenham was often linked with Zaha when Mauricio Pochettino was in charge. Tottenham have a lot of wide attackers with Son Heung-Min, Lucas Moura, and Steven Bergwijn currently at their disposal. However, the addition of Zaha would be a great business.
What’s next for Zaha and Crystal Palace?
Over the past 18 months, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has become more than accustomed to handling questions regarding the future of Zaha. Crystal Palace spent all their time and effort in last summer’s transfer window, trying to hold on to their star man. This summer might be the right time for them to let Zaha leave, which could be the best decision for all parties since the player feels he needs a new challenge. Zaha is arguably the best player outside the top six in the Premier League, and he sees himself as a top prospect who can play for the top sides. If he moves this summer, he must join a team that will cater to his playing style. Zaha would also have to look at his old teammate Yannick Bolasie and take a cue from that. Zaha and Bolasie struck fear into opposing sides, with the pair having the same skill set to beat defenders. In summer 2016, Bolasie left Palace to join Everton. However, since his defining move, Bolasie’s career has gone downhill.