Chelsea are firmly in the mix to sign Wilfried Zaha when his contract at Crystal Palace expires in the summer, according to a report that has revealed an interesting subplot involving Mauricio Pochettino.
Zaha is due to become a free agent at the end of the season after a nine-year long second spell with Crystal Palace. He has become an icon at Selhurst Park after scoring more than 70 goals since his return from Man Utd.
But at the age of 30, this could be Zaha’s last chance to test himself again at a higher level, a decade on from his forgettable spell at Old Trafford.
His situation has led to links with several clubs, including Arsenal. But Chelsea have been mentioned as contenders to snap up the Ivory Coast international as well.
And according to the Daily Mail, a Chelsea approach for Zaha would come with the full backing of potential new manager Pochettino.
Set to take over from caretaker manager Frank Lampard, Pochettino previously tried to sign Zaha for Tottenham Hotspur, the report reminds.
Therefore, Pochettino has given the green light for Chelsea to pursue Zaha, despite their squad already being well stocked in the attacking areas.
Zaha latest attacker on Chelsea agenda
Chelsea have not been high scoring this season, meaning they are in the market for a new centre-forward. Zaha can play in that role, but is more naturally a winger – where Todd Boehly has already invested in a plethora of players.
Indeed, the likes of Noni Madueke, Raheem Sterling and Mykhaylo Mudryk have arrived at Stamford Bridge under the current ownership, on top of existing options like Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount. What happens with Joao Felix after his loan spell from Atletico Madrid ends will also be interesting to consider.
But the opportunity to add a player of Zaha’s pedigree for free isn’t one that Chelsea want to overlook. Winning the race to sign him would make them the envy of his cornucopia of other suitors, including Arsenal, Marseille, Napoli, Inter, AC Milan and some Saudi Arabian sides (which seem to be less appealing to him).
Moreover, Crystal Palace would be left gutted after putting the highest salary in the club’s history on the table to Zaha in an offer of a contract extension. Per the report, he could earn around £200,000 per week by signing updated terms with the Eagles.
Yet Zaha is keeping his options open as the twilight of his career creeps up.
This season, he has scored seven goals from 25 appearances in the Premier League. Overall, across his two spells with Palace, he has scored 90 goals from 456 games.
Interestingly, Zaha is not the only forward on the radar of both Chelsea and Arsenal. In a separate report, the London rivals have both been mentioned as contenders for a Leeds attacker.