Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson used his post-Arsenal press conference to pour cold water on the stories linking Wilfried Zaha with a move away from Selhurst Park, much to the relief of Eagles fans everywhere.
The days leading up to our trip to The Emirates had seen some quotes given by the winger fuel speculation that he is all set to fly the nest once the current campaign comes to a close but Hodgson was in uncharacteristically bold form when quizzed about the club’s chances of keeping hold of their star man when pressed for clarification following a shock 3-2 victory in north London.
Whilst a manager’s comments in the immediate aftermath of such a morale boosting win should probably not be taken as gospel, it is intriguing to hear the gaffer in such bullish mood about a subject which could ultimately come back to bite him if he’s proven to be wrong in the summer window to come. As I said when discussing the stories about Zaha’s possible departure over the weekend, he’s highly unlikely to force a move away by creating issues for the club but even so, to come out with comments as direct as this, it’s difficult not to feel as though Roy could be playing with fire.
Who knows? Maybe the boss spoke to Wilf following the publication of his interview to seek clarification on his point of view, leading to his comments yesterday evening but for supporters who were trying to come to terms with waving their team’s talisman goodbye in May, this change of tone arrived like a bolt from the blue and only added to the jubilation we all felt after an unexpected three points on the road.
There is no doubt in my mind that Zaha could move to and flourish at a club regularly participating in the Champions League but after games like yesterday, there’s always a part of me wondering what it would be like to keep him on our books for the remainder of his career. Make no mistake, Wilf is a vastly different player to the one who swapped Selhurst for Old Trafford back in 2013 but even so, there is a legitimate argument to suggest that he’s simply not going to find an environment as well suited to him elsewhere, regardless of the technical quality his potential new teammates possess.
I said on Saturday that, if Wilf is to leave, I’d far rather see him move abroad than to a domestic rival but based on Roy’s latest comments, we may not have to contemplate losing him at all. As Easter weekends go, it’s been a pretty good one; let’s just hope the goalposts don’t shift again once the transfer window opens for business.