Hodgson offers cryptic Zaha message as Palace star’s future ‘pretty clear’

Date published: Monday 5th April 2021 3:36 - Neil Foster

Wilfried Zaha, Christian Pulisic July 2020

Roy Hodgson is looking forward to Wilfried Zaha putting in a strong finish to the season before the perennial summer speculation about his Crystal Palace future.

Zaha, 28, is now back to fitness after being sidelined for a month with a high strain. It has been a frustrating campaign for the Ivory Coast international. A number of niggling problems have restricted him to 21 Premier League appearances. But the former Manchester United player has still managed to bag nine league goals.

He remains an influential member of the Eagles side despite not having scored since late January. Zaha has been at Selhurst Park for most of his career.

He made his debut in March 2010 and was signed by the Red Devils three years’ later. But his spell at Old Trafford did not work out and he was soon back at Palace on loan.

Following a short stint on loan with Cardiff, the tricky forward penned permanent terms with the south Londoners in 2015. His Palace form has seen him linked with many clubs over the past few years.

A move to Arsenal appeared to be on the cards in the summer of 2019. But the clubs could not agree on a deal and he remained with Palace.

It is now rapidly approaching that time of the year when rumours of his departure will start to do the rounds.

Hodgson knows it is coming. And the former England boss refused to be drawn on whether his talisman will be at the club in 2021-2022.

“He’s missed more games through injury than in previous years which is a blow for us, but we’re hoping to keep him fit for the next nine,” he said.

“He seems to be pretty much clear at the moment as to what he wants to do and where he wants to be. We’re hoping to benefit from that in the next nine games.

“At the end of the season, we’ll see what happens then.”

Zaha keen to test himself

Zaha has made no secret of the fact he wants to play Champions League football. He will not get that with the Eagles but has remained loyal under the scrutiny of transfer speculation.

But it may be that this summer is one transfer window too many for the African and he does move on. Palace will be able to cash in as Zaha will not come cheap for any suitors.

There are some big-name clubs said to be interested. Arsenal’s name is certain to be mentioned but Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan are also known admirers.

Zaha will be in the shop window once again on Monday night as Palace face Everton at Goodison Park.

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