Wilfried Zaha has come a long way since he moved to Manchester United too early and slowed down the progress of his career. He’s a phenomenally talented player and showing it at the highest level. Everyone wants him but where SHOULD he go?
The presumption in this article is that every team in the league wants Wilfried Zaha. That’s a fairly safe assumption because there are noted and substantiated articles all of the big six are chasing him and then why not assume that frankly if they could Bournemouth, Newcastle, Burnley and the rest would love him as well? Zaha is 25 and finally proving the talent that was so obvious Sir Alex took a stab at him towards the end of his reign at Old Trafford.
Wilfried Zaha should not move to Manchester City or United end of story. That point should be made clearly and early. If he wants to get paid a slight premium then he could perhaps earn that at the Emirates or Old Trafford but it wouldn’t be an unbelievable sum (as much as that can even be suggested when talking about the salaries of footballers).
If the assumption is that Zaha is an 85k-100k per week player perhaps then City or United would pay him 120k per week. Zaha though would not play very regularly and that would be a major issue in his game. He needs to know that he will play every week not that he needs to fight for it every week.
Zaha is a very particular type of player. It’s not uncommon with the creative types in football that they need a more gentle coaching approach. Their personalities are different and Zaha is a phenomenal example of this. It’s not that he’s a better player and better physical specimen now then he was during his time at Old Trafford or Cardiff it’s simply that he’s a more comfortable and confident man. Much has been made of the fact that he
Thus with City and United out of the running there are only a few clubs left. He could try Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp is a phenomenal man manager. With Coutinho probably on the way out that does leave some room in the attacking realm for a player like Zaha. The issue there though is that Zaha is an out-and-out winger while Coutinho is moving more into a central midfield area.
They’re very different. Liverpool could work but it’s not attacking talent they need at the moment. It was also suggested at United that one of Zaha’s issues was that he was too far from home and didn’t adjust well to the North-West. Perhaps those were the troubles of a young man but nevertheless something worth worrying about. Liverpool would be a decent if imperfect fit.
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That brings us to the London clubs.
All of these clubs would be a decent fit though Chelsea would be the least so. Chelsea’s formation puts an impetus on wing-backs not out-and-out wingers. They also have enough competition in Willian and Pedro that it wouldn’t be an obvious pick for him. That said with the turnover at Chelsea it could work and if Zaha adjusted to the position he could be better than Victor Moses and Davide Zappacosta out-wide. Still though imperfect.
The clubs that make the most sense are Tottenham and Arsenal though each has negatives and positives. Tottenham have a manager in Mauricio Pochettino who is a bonafide genius and will turn Zaha into the best version of himself possible and he will get playing time. The downside is though that Daniel Levy though a remarkable football economist and visionary is a very hard man to work for.
He expects players to play for Tottenham for far less than their market value and that can be, again in footballing terms since we are talking about enormous wealth, insulting. All that said though Tottenham are currently a squad near their peak and just might win a Premier League title in the next couple of years. That is a team that would be God’s among men forever. To win the title with Tottenham would be historic and something absolutely worth joining up for.
Arsenal could pay more. That’s really the benefit there. Wenger will leave before the contract is up most likely and then it’s a crap shoot. They’ll either hire some genius who returns the club to early 2000’s form or make a decision that continues to plummet the club into its own dark ages. Arsenal are a proud club that are important for English football. They’re not in a good place at the moment though. At least Zaha would get paid more.
The truth is though that Zaha should stay at Crystal Palace. There’s no substitute for playing for your boyhood club. He made the move once and regretted it. Crystal Palace are refurbishing their stadium and are a club worth playing for.
They can pay whatever Tottenham are willing to and will treat Zaha the way he needs to succeed. The simple truth is no club other than Crystal Palace will be able to get the value for money that Crystal Palace do for Zaha because he simply would not be as good as he is for Palace anyplace other than Selhurst Park.