Crystal Palace star Andros Townsend has worked with Wilfried Zaha day in day out for years now and ahead of another summer of speculation over the academy graduate’s future, the former Tottenham man has nailed his colours to the mast and pleaded with the club’s board not to cash in their chips on him.
Zaha opened the scoring against Cardiff City last weekend before Townsend got in on the act to bag our third of the game and consign the Bluebirds to relegation but the latter is under no illusions as to who the real star of the show is in SE25; readily admitting that Wilfried is almost certainly the most talented individual player he’s ever worked with.
Bizarrely, there are still large sections of this country’s football watching public who refuse to be swayed by Zaha’s talents but for Townsend, Palace’s success is down in no small part to the man who occupies the opposite flank to him from week to week. Whilst there hasn’t as of yet been any concrete offers made for Wilf from elsewhere, everyone at Palace is gearing up for a transfer window in which stories are printed daily about his potential departure; it’s always been this way but this summer, it feels more dangerous than ever.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Zaha’s game has matured enough for him to now be a big hit in the top six of the Premier League but even with his technical and mental growth, there remains an argument to suggest that he flourishes at Palace because of the freedom of expression we afford him from a tactical perspective. Would he get that at Arsenal, Tottenham or Manchester United and more to the point, would any of them stump up the sort of cash we’re looking for to sell? I highly doubt it as things stand.
We may well find that Wilfried himself has decided that the time is right to move but as of yet, there have been no signs of him looking to force his way out of Selhurst Park; it’s just not in his make-up. As Townsend says, the 26-year-old is this club’s talisman and as such, any scenario which sees us lose him could prove devastating. Will we have to contemplate that before the 2019/20 campaign gets underway? Only time will tell.