On Saturday evening, former Palace boss Frank de Boer took up residence in the BT Sport studio for their live coverage of our game against Chelsea, where he suggested that the club have no chance of keeping star-man Wilfried Zaha through another transfer window.
"He can be one of the most spectacular players in the league!" 🙌
"If he wants to go to the next level, he has to go to a big club." 👀
High praise for Wilfried Zaha from Frank de Boer… pic.twitter.com/dOfOSgEhgN
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 10, 2018
Whilst I and plenty of other Palace fans are well aware that Wilfried is the subject of serious interest from a number of England’s top clubs (most regularly Tottenham), I can’t help but feel that the timing of Frank’s words (with us in the midst of a relegation dogfight) was unacceptable.
Having just reintroduced the recently injured 25-year-old back into the first-team set-up following a lengthy injury lay-off, the last thing anyone at our club needs is an ex-boss rocking the boat about our talisman’s immediate future, regardless of the fact that we may face an uphill battle to keep him on our books beyond this summer.
I dare say the Dutchman remains a little peeved at the manner in which he lost his job at Selhurst Park but to state: “I don’t think so.” when asked the simple question of “Can Palace hold onto him for another season?” just feels wrong to me on a number of levels. One or two have suggested that our supporters are being unfairly critical of the former Ajax man but my reaction would be exactly the same if the likes of Coppell, Warnock or Holloway had answered in that fashion; it’s creating drama for drama’s sake.
Whatever occurs between May and the end of August, we need each and every member of the Crystal Palace squad fully focussed on the task at hand heading into what is an absolutely massive couple of months for the club’s long-term future and however you slice it, De Boer’s words on Saturday evening caused an unnecessarily level of unrest.
There are ways of answering that question which pay tribute to Zaha’s ability without suggesting a definite summer move. We’ve all heard the clichés trotted out over the years, it’s something managers and players are well versed in; meaning the above video has left a bitter taste in my mouth.
Chris Sutton is employed by BT Sport to provide outrageous sound-bites and provoke outrage but for Frank de Boer, yesterday was an opportunity to set the record straight and remind other club’s that he remains available. With that in mind, I would suggest that figuratively shipping off his previous employer’s biggest asset live on air in the build-up to a televised game is unlikely to ingratiate him to any owners who were sitting on the fence prior to his appearance on their TV screens.