Whilst speculation surrounding Wilfried Zaha’s immediate departure from Selhurst Park appears to have died down, large swathes of the press still expect the 25-year-old to leave SE25 over the summer, making these quotes from Steve Parish extremely interesting.
Having convinced the academy graduate to put pen to paper on a big-money five-year contract extension last summer, it seems as though the Palace hierarchy aren’t considering selling their talisman for the foreseeable future. Of course, top six clubs will be continuously linked with bids for him but if the man himself is happy to stay put, it looks as though there will be no attempt from those in the boardroom to cash in on him.
Having failed to pick up a single Premier League point without him in the side so far this term, Palace fans everywhere are understandably concerned about the impact his possible departure would have on our chances of survival in the top flight. Of course, should Wilf himself express an open desire to leave, the club’s collective stance on the matter may have to altered but for now, it sounds as though the wide man is fully committed to the cause in south London.
It’s rare in the modern game to see a supremely talented footballer happily playing for a club in the bottom half of the Premier League but given Wilfried’s specific circumstances it’s certainly understandable. Whilst I and plenty of others have said it before, the fact that he experienced life on the other side of the fence at Manchester United when still so young has given him a unique perspective on the differences you’re forced to adapt to when playing for a club of their stature.
There will always be plenty of journalists happy to frantically link him with a second move away from Selhurst Park but in truth, it is only the thoughts and feelings of Zaha himself which truly matter.
A few weeks ago, Ian Wright spoke about his hope of seeing Wilf emulate what Matt Le Tissier managed at Southampton, becoming the sort of player that is revered and reminisced over for decades after their retirement. Clearly, Steve Parish and his fellow directors are hopeful that Zaha will heed that advice and stick around far longer than May; it’s a dream I think everyone reading this will share.