Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has addressed speculation linking Wilfried Zaha with a move to Arsenal, telling the press that the Gunners offer for the winger was “nowhere near” our valuation of the player.
Speaking after Palace’s defeat to Barnet in pre-season, Hodgson pulled no punches in his comments on the subject, saying that Zaha himself will understand the need for Arsenal to pay market value for him if they are to tempt the Eagles into a sale.
It’s been made clear that Zaha would like the opportunity to explore the opportunity of a switch to north London but with Palace having already allowed Aaron Wan-Bissaka to move on in this window, you can understand the reluctance from those behind the scenes to surrender another prized asset. With an overall offer significantly below what we’ve secured for Aaron, despite Zaha being of far greater individual importance to our style of play, the whole thing looks like a no-go as it stands.
When you factor in Wilfried’s contract, which has four years left to run on a weekly wage of £120,000 with no release clause, it’s plain to see why Unai Emery and Arsenal were laughed out of the building when suggesting an instalment based £40 million move. Some with an axe to grind will say Palace are being unrealistic but given our current predicament, I’d suggest we’re just showing brutal honesty as to how important Zaha is to our hopes of maintaining a place in the Premier League.
The landscape would alter dramatically if Wilfried himself were to hand in an official transfer request but at the time of writing, that looks unlikely. You can be almost certain that the same discussion will resurface in January and then again next summer, with the answer as always dependant on Palace’s own circumstances and the offers being put on the table by Zaha’s many suitors.
One thing we can all say for sure, is that £40 million is nowhere near enough to even be taken seriously by Palace in a discussion over the departure of their star man. Arsenal could have saved a lot of their own time by realising that when the window opened for business weeks ago.