RAY RYAN on a transfer saga that has had as many twists and turns as one of the England winger’s own mazy runs
Wilfried Zaha, the England winger who played a key role in Crystal Palace’s promotion season, has his heart set on a return to Selhurst Park to revive his career after a year on the sidelines at Manchester United.
Palace have been after Zaha, who they sold for £15million to United in January 2013, since it became apparent he has no future at Old Trafford under their new manager, Louis van Gaal.
Palace’s co-chairman, Steve Parish, has spoken publicly this week about the club possibly making two more signings before they start the Premier League season at Arsenal on Saturday, and he has admitted that if his manager Tony Pulis wants him, then 21-year-old Zaha could also be back at the club.
Zaha looked disinterested and de-motivated during a brief loan spell at Cardiff City at the end of last season. And while the Welsh club, following relegation from the Premier League, wanted to sign Zaha in a permanent deal, the player was less keen. Earlier this week a loan deal which would have taken him to Championship side Nottingham Forest also collapsed.
Zaha has told close friends he would jump at the chance of a return to Selhurst Park. A source close to Zaha said: “Wilf would walk over broken glass to return to Crystal Palace.
“There has been a lot of talk about a loan to Forest or a move to Cardiff. But he has set his heart on Palace.
“He has the best days of his career there and feels he can revive his fortunes after the United move went sour.”
Zaha admitted recently said he was not given a chance under former United boss David Moyes, as he was “not his cup of tea”.
Van Gaal initially said he would give Zaha a chance and try him out as a striker. But after assessing his squad since taking over, he has decided Zaha can leave.
Zaha was regarded as one of the brightest respects in the country while he was at Palace. He spent four years at Selhurst Park after progressing from the club’s academy in 2010.
Zaha was one of the last signings made by Sir Alex Ferguson as United boss, shortly after he had made his senior England debut under Roy Hodgson at the end of 2012. Zaha was immediately loaned back to the Eagles, who he helped secure promotion through the play-offs. Since Ferguson retired, Zaha has failed to make any impression at United.
He made just two league appearances for United and many people regard him as a wasted talent.
He has always felt at home in south London, where he lived from the age of four. Zaha was brought up in Thornton Heath along with his eight brothers and sisters. He was educated at Whitehouse Manor Junior School and Selsdon High.
Pulis has indicated he wants Zaha if a deal can be agreed. Parish told Sky Sports News, “There’s a sentimental value and I loved Wilf as a kid and he did sensational things for us.
‘I know the fans would like him back and that will play a part, but in the end the manager will decide what we do.”
Our source added: “Wilf sees Palace as home. He is really hoping a deal can be done and he can go back to the club.”
Coming to Croydon
- Mind-Loosing Workshop, Aug 16
- David Lean Cinema: The Love Punch, Aug 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Aug 16
- RAF Kenley Battle of Britain fly-past, Aug 17
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 20
- David Lean Cinema: Stop The Pounding Heart, Aug 21
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 27
- David Lean Cinema: Frank, Aug 28
- Upper Norwood Library well-being groups, Aug 30
- Warlingham rugby dinner with international Richard Hill, Sep 12
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Sep 20
- Streatham Common 6M race, Sep 27
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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