Saturday’s 2-0 win over Fulham highlighted just how important academy graduate Wilfried Zaha is to Crystal Palace and speaking after the game, his teammate Andros Townsend gave an insight into how desperate he and the rest of the squad are to keep hold of him beyond the 2018/19 season.
It would be easy to assume that supporters were the only ones fretting over the chances of Chelsea or Tottenham offering big bucks to take Zaha away from us this summer but Andros was more than happy to reveal that he too was worried that we had seen the last of the 25-year-old in red and blue when the last campaign came to a close. Thankfully that wasn’t the case and now, it sounds as though Wilf and his teammates are all set to kick on and forget any fears of falling through the relegation trap-door between now and May.
Whilst we have a side that is packed with attacking talent, Townsend will be the first to admit that Zaha is capable of outshining them all on his day. Outsiders may have sneered at the hefty price-tag Steve Parish placed on the wide-man’s head this summer but for Andros, it wasn’t a penny too much.
Wilfried himself told the press that talks over a new contract extension are ongoing with both he and Roy Hodgson hinting at a potential positive solution in the not too distant future but for Townsend, the best way of convincing Zaha to stay is with positive results on the pitch. Each of the last three seasons has seen us battling against the drop at some stage, meaning that a comfortable mid-table finish this time around would be sure to help the winger feel as though the club are heading in the right direction.
Whilst talk of a top eight push feels a little hasty, Roy Hodgson’s previous heroics with Fulham, matched up against the depth of attacking talent he has at his disposal in SE25, could well see us pushing for a Europa League place over the next year or so. Clearly, Towsend feels we’re capable of such feats with a fair wind behind us and if Zaha does too, we could be set for one hell of a ride.