Premier League • England

Arsenal ‘increasingly serious’ about making ‘firm offer’ for Prem forward already in contact with another club

Eberechi Eze, Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Newcastle United

Arsenal are not weakening their interest in a transfer for Wilfried Zaha, though they are playing catch-up with a Ligue 1 side in the race to sign him, according to reports.

Zaha is approaching the end of his contract with Crystal Palace. After his lengthy service to the club, it could be time for him to test himself at a higher level. With that in mind, he has been attracting the attention of Arsenal recently.

According to an update from Foot Mercato, Arsenal are ‘increasingly serious’ about signing Zaha on a free transfer. Soon, they could make a ‘firm offer’ to his entourage – with whom they are already in contact – regarding a contract.

However, the first move has instead been made by Marseille, who want to take Zaha to Ligue 1. They were recently offered his services and like the idea.

That said, Marseille would need to qualify for the Champions League in order to convince Zaha. Furthermore, they might struggle to match the salary that he currently earns at Crystal Palace.

Foot Mercato stresses that money will not be Zaha’s motivating factor, but he is still unlikely to accept a reduction on his current terms of €6million per season (around £100,000 per week).

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Primarily, it could all come down to the level at which he would be playing. Arsenal currently lead the Premier League and are almost certain to be in the Champions League again at long last next term.

Therefore, they could appeal to the Ivory Coast international, also by enabling him to remain in London.

Marseille in with a chance of beating Arsenal to Zaha

Marseille, meanwhile, are second in the Ligue 1 table with seven games to go. They will need to remain there in order to make it to the Champions League group stage.

Other competitors for Zaha’s signature include Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, as well as another Ligue 1 outfit in the shape of Monaco, and some sides in the Middle East (an exit route that would seem less enticing to the 30-year-old).

This season, Zaha has scored six goals from 24 appearances in the Premier League for Crystal Palace. Across his various spells with the club, he has totalled 89 goals from 455 games.

After struggling to make the grade at Man Utd earlier in his career, it will be interesting to see if he is better equipped for success at a higher level now, or if that ship might have sailed for him.

It is debatable whether or not Zaha would start for Arsenal, for example. After all, their first-choice attack would probably remain Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli.

But as someone who can play as a winger or more centrally, Zaha has the kind of versatility to be useful to Arsenal in similar ways to their January signing, Leandro Trossard.

Marseille might be a decent option to consider too. But whether Zaha is ready to leave the Premier League behind him remains unclear.