Despite Steve Parish, Roy Hodgson and Wilfried Zaha himself laughing off talk of him leaving the club in near future, the Italian press are now linking the 25-year-old with a move to Juventus of all places.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more obvious case of a journalist (in this case an Italian one) plucking a name out of thin air to add flavour to a story but I think we can all rest assured that the Old Lady of Italian football are unlikely to make a late play for the Palace academy graduate.
I suppose the mere fact that his name is being mentioned as a possible replacement for the injured Juan Cuadrado should be seen as a compliment to his abilities and eye-catching form this season but in reality, there is next to no chance of the south London lad upping sticks and making a move to Turin.
Whilst a club of Juventus’ stature will always have a huge degree of pulling power for a player if their interest is concrete, I’m not sure they’d ever actually be willing to part with the sort of sum we’d demand to let him leave, with Wilfried’s worth to us as a football club almost certainly coming in at over the current market rate for a player of his pedigree.
Personally, I can’t envisage a scenario in which Steve Parish and his fellow directors would entertain any offers below the £50 million mark and even then, I’m not sure it would represent true value for money to us as a football club. When you have a player who is as deeply embedded in the club’s identity as Zaha, it’s almost impossible to put a price on their head but you can be almost certain that when we did eventually arrive at a figure, it would cause the likes of Juventus to balk and walk a way from the negotiating table.
Having run HLTCO for nearly seven years now, I can honestly say that Wilfried is the Palace player who has featured more regularly in the news than anyone in recent years. When you couple that with the level of debate he inspires amongst the football watching public in this country, it’s clear to see he’s doing something right when he steps out on the pitch each week.