If you thought Palace fans couldn’t love Wilfried Zaha any more than they already do, his comments to the BBC’s Jonathan Pearce following the Eagles’ 0-0 draw with Manchester City are likely to have ratcheted up the love affair to previously unseen levels.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 31, 2017
Despite signing a big-money five-year contract extension last summer, the 25-year-old has been constantly linked with a January move to one of the big six clubs in the months since the 2017-18 season got underway. Whilst both Steve Parish and manager Roy Hodgson have already dismissed any talk of him leaving, the man himself reiterated his loyalty to the club yesterday afternoon, putting to bed any further speculation of him playing his football elsewhere by the time February rolls around.
Whilst Wilfried has always been given a hard time by opposition fans, his performances over the last 18 months have been quite simply astounding, with the interest in him from elsewhere inevitable in the circumstances. When he first left SE25 for Manchester United in 2013, he was full of potential but struggled to adapt to life in the North West; with that in mind, he deserves immense credit for returning to Selhurst Park and turning his career around in the years that have followed.
When I and other Palace fans claim that the club would demand upwards of £50 million to even consider letting Zaha go this summer, neutrals across the country scoff but it really is bordering on impossible to convey the winger’s importance to our game-plan from week to week. A short time ago, former Palace and Arsenal striker Ian Wright called on Wilf to emulate the sort of long-term legacy Matt Le Tissier enjoyed at Southampton with Palace and although there are sure to be plenty of sharks circling for him when the current campaign draws to a close, I wouldn’t write off the chances of him staying put for at least one more year.