Late last night, Crystal Palace FC confirmed that Wilfried Zaha has agreed to a five-year contract extension, sparking scenes of joy across social media.
Despite the recent departure of Sam Allardyce, chairman Steve Parish has seemingly had no difficulty in convincing Wilf to put pen to paper on a five-year contract extension, tying him to Selhurst Park until 2022. It will sound like a cliche to many but in Zaha, we have a player who has a genuine affection for the shirt he pulls on each week, turning away from the admiring glances of Spurs and Arsenal to commit his future to Crystal Palace.
The pragmatist inside him will no doubt look at the progression he’s enjoyed since returning from Manchester United and realise that it’s the best place for him but readily turning down the lure of Champions League football still requires a great deal of will power for any player. Of course, a vastly improved weekly wage will have helped but even so, it shows real maturity of his part to put any speculation to bed and stay where he feels most comfortable.
In many ways, Zaha’s career goes hand in hand with the seven-year tenure of Steve Parish as Palace’s chairman. Having scored a vital goal in the first game of Parish’s stint at the top of the totem pole, Wilf has been CPFC2010’s talisman from the moment they first took charge. They’ve watched him blossom from a boy to a man and have genuinely helped to turn him into the player he is today. Although it’s unlikely to be expressed in those terms whilst he’s still playing, Wilf knows how important Parish’s guidance has been and has paid him back by signing this latest contract.
We may still be waiting to discover the identity of Crystal Palace’s next manager but the uncertainty doesn’t seem to have affected Wilfried’s thought process over a new contract. Either Steve has a grand plan for the immediate future or Zaha is happy to commit to the cause regardless of the new boss’ identity. Either way, it works out well for us as fans.
Here’s to another five years.