Arsenal and Chelsea have been handed a timely boost in their quests to sign a Premier League winger who is using a Man Utd angle as motivation to finally get the transfer he craves, per a report.
The future of Wilfried Zaha is a topic that pops up virtually every summer. Zaha is perennially linked with leaving Crystal Palace to join Arsenal, though Chelsea too have emerged as a contender in recent times.
At 29, time is running out for the Ivory Coast international to take the leap and join a Champions League contender.
He remains one of the finest stars playing for a club outside of the traditional ‘big six’. He, along with Declan Rice, James Maddison and Bruno Guimaraes are arguably the four greatest players in that category at present.
Zaha has become more potent in front of goal with age. Indeed, he’s operating at just under a goal every other game this season (five goals in 11 appearances). He scored a career-best 14 league goals the campaign prior and has hit double figures in three of the last four full seasons.
Arsenal are known to be seeking competition for Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli on the wings.
Chelsea, meanwhile, still don’t appear to have solved their issues in the final third despite signing Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last summer.
Furthermore, doubts remain over the long-term futures of Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech at Stamford Bridge. Pulisic continues to draw links with Newcastle amid a remarkable report claiming he’s said ‘yes’ to a January switch.
Now, the Sun reaffirm Chelsea and Arsenal’s interest in Zaha, and detail two reasons why a long-awaited transfer in 2023 is likelier than ever.
Pressure on Vieira to deliver strong finish
Firstly, Zaha is refusing to sign a new deal at Selhurst Park until it becomes clearer whereabouts in the table they’ll finish.
The inference there is that if Palace continue to operate in mid-table, Zaha will use his expiring contract as a way to finally get a big move. His current deal is up at season’s end.
Palace currently sit 10th in the table and do appear to be trending in the right direction under Patrick Vieira.
A strong showing after the World Cup would put them in contention for qualification to the Europa League or Europa Conference League. A finish of at least seventh is required to make that a reality.
That may be enough to convince Zaha to extend his deal which will expire next summer. Alternatively, if Palace can’t mix it up with the big boys, Zaha may feel he’s outgrown the club.
Zaha motivated by failed Man Utd stint
Secondly, Zaha is reportedly fuelled by a desire to prove those that say he can’t cut it at a bigger club wrong.
Zaha has played for a ‘big six’ club before after joining Manchester United in 2013.
However, the move appeared to come too soon for the winger who was quickly loaned out to Cardiff City. He then re-joined Crystal Palace on a permanent deal after just one year on the Old Trafford books.
The Sun state Zaha is ‘ personally keen to silence critics’ who use his poor Man Utd spell as ammunition.
His contract status would lend itself to overseas clubs being able to forge a pre-contract agreement in January. However, it’s hinted a stay in England, either with Palace or upon moving to Chelsea or Arsenal is a likelier outcome.
He currently pockets around £130,000-a-week. Palace have tabled an extension that would include a pay rise, though he’s in ‘no rush’ to sign it until Palace’s situation in the league becomes clearer.
Whether he’ll go on to sign it or complete a highly anticipated move up the table will become clear as the season rolls on.