Wilfried Zaha has faced constant questions about his long-term future for the best part of two years now and despite giving the same answer time and time again, it seems each and every interviewer feels as though they’ll be the ones to finally get him to change his tune.
Yesterday evening, the 25-year-old was collared by a Sky Sports reporter on the red carpet of the “Best of Africa Awards” in London and asked repeatedly to discuss the prospect of a move away from SE25 at the end of the season.
Having first given his stock answer of late, “I’m just trying to keep my head down, play my football, I’m enjoying it at Palace, I’m contracted there, so I don’t really see myself anywhere.” Wilf was quickly hit with a comment regarding his time with Manchester United which called his maturity and readiness for a move to a stereotypical “big club”. Quite understandably, the wide man bristled a little at that, provoking the interviewer to spin her original angle slightly and play on his comments by saying “You’re obviously ambitious, so it would be hard to turn down a so-called big club wouldn’t it? If the likes of Tottenham came in for you…” leaving Wilf to witheringly agree that he is in fact ambitious and sees himself as a good player, without ever hinting that he would like to leave SE25 for Spurs.
True to form, she asked him for a third time, saying “Is Palace as ambitious as you are?” prompting Wilf to say “Well we have a great squad” before the reporter in question inexplicably cuts him off and almost rudely states “Are they ambitious enough to keep you? Is what I’m saying…” leaving Wilf (for the fourth time in under two minutes) to reiterate his loyalty to the club by saying “Yeah, I’m sure they they are, with the players we’re bringing in, Benteke, Sakho, Cabaye, if we put our minds together we can get further.”
When you consider the fact that Zaha has given two interviews to Sky Sports themselves in recent weeks, stating exactly the same thing, it’s bordering on ridiculous to see him put under so much pressure to give legs to to the stories linking him with a move away.
In line with that, it’s worth looking at the headline that has been slapped on last night’s interview as part of the Sky Sports website. By writing Zaha: I’m an ambitious person” the bosses can be assured of extra clicks from supporters of Palace, Spurs, Manchester City and many others, wondering if Wilf has indeed changed his stance on a summer switch from Selhurst Park.
Sky have also transcribed the winger’s comments into a written piece, but in a move that shines a light on their desperation for clicks, the headlines that appear on websites like NewsNow: Zaha: Move away would not scare me is vastly different from what pops up once you visit the article on their site: Wilfried Zaha happy at Crystal Palace but would not be afraid of future move.
When all is said and done, Sky Sports aren’t the first and won’t be the last to twist Zaha’s words to suit their own agenda but to do so when he’s been kind enough to stop and talk to them specifically outside an event stinks. Luckily, the Palace man has developed a thick skin in recent years but even so, it’s worth highlighting the questionable methods news outlets like Sky Sports will go to in a bid to drive traffic towards their content.