Why Crystal Palace must forget about letting Wilfried Zaha leave
According to reports from London News Online, Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha is being scouted by French heavyweights AS Monaco, with a January move in the works.
Monaco’s sporting director Michael Emenalo watched on as the Ivory Coast international fired the Eagles to a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town a week ago (h/t London News Online). And as per the report, the Ligue 1 outfit, who are currently languishing in the 16th spot, will make an attempt to sign the winger in the winter transfer window (h/t London News Online).
Zaha, a product of the Palace academy, broke into the first-team in 2010 at the tender age of 17. Since then, he has made rapid strides in his career. The winger, who currently earns a staggering £130,000-a-week, went on to establish himself as a key player for the team in the 2010/11 term and continued to enhance his reputation over the next couple of years.
His rapid rise to prominence did not go unnoticed as Zaha ended up signing for Manchester United in January 2013. However, he was immediately loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season, following which he helped the Eagles secure promotion to the top-flight. He left the club after making 143 appearances and scoring 18 goals.
Zaha’s induction at United was anything but easy. More often than not, he found himself on the sidelines under David Moyes. Due to the lack of game time, he joined Cardiff City on loan in January 2014 and returned to Palace in the subsequent summer. Although the move was initially temporary, the Eagles signed him permanently in 2015.
Since his return to Selhurst Park, the Ivory Coast international rediscovered his mojo and is back to his best, terrorizing defences with his pace and trickery. The 25-year-old has accumulated a total of 149 matches since rejoining Crystal Palace, finding the back of the net on 28 occasions.
Zaha enjoyed his best season in terms of goals last time out, bagging nine goals in 29 Premier League outings while setting up five more to help Crystal Palace stave off the threat of relegation. The attacker has started the 2018/19 term strongly as well, scoring thrice in just four games already.
Zaha’s speed, athleticism and movement in the final third makes him a huge threat to any opposition. Since returning, the Ivorian has grown into an integral part of the club. And now, the Eagles struggle greatly in his absence.
In fact, since the start of the last season, the Eagles have lost each of their ten league games without their talisman, scoring just three goals in those encounters. The last time Palace won a game in Zaha’s absence was way back in September 2016 – a 3-2 win over Sunderland at Stadium of Light.
With 25 goals in 134 outings, Zaha is the Eagles’ all-time top scorer in the Premier League, beating the record previously held by club legend Andrew Johnson.
Given the level of influence Zaha has on the proceedings for Palace and considering how integral he is to the scheme of things under manager Roy Hodgson, losing him midway through the campaign to Monaco would prove disastrous. And hence, they must do everything possible to ensure he remains at the club.