Zaha transfer saga reaches sad end as player flies off to Turkey

New fans: Wilfried Zaha on his arrival in Istanbul last night

So, farewell then, Wilf Zaha, Crystal Palace’s “G.O.A.T.” – Greatest Of All Time – who is to join Turkish champions Galatasaray on a free transfer with a three-year contract expected to be finalised in Istanbul today.

The 30-year-old homegrown star has turned down the offer of a £200,000 per week contract extension to remain at Selhurst Park in order to pursue his ambition of playing Champions League football.

The announcement came yesterday evening, though not via the staid, old-style press release from a club, but via a Tik Tok video as the player sat on a private jet apparently heading for the eastern Mediterranean.

Galatasaray fought off interest from a number of other clubs including Lazio, Fenerbahce and Al-Nassr (simply because the Saudi club appears to be linked to every international footballer on the planet at the moment).

Shrine: the Zaha mural in South Norwood was unveiled only two months ago

It is understood that Zaha’s wages at Galatasaray will be lower than what he would have earned in the Premier League or Saudi Arabia.

Galatasaray won the Super Lig for the first time in four years last season and will enter the Champions League in the third qualifying round next month, so will need to win two ties to reach the group stages of the competition.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, though… The saga over Zaha’s future plans has dragged on for more than six months. At the end of the English season, when there was no definitive news about his re-signing for Palace, many Eagles fans appeared to take a very enlighted approach, gathering at the new mural to their hero and wishing him all the best for the future, wherever that might take him.

But in the past few days, organisations associated with Zaha, including his football academy, have had to issue pleas for supporters not to email them about the player’s future plans (none of their social media reaches Zaha directly), while other organisations have reported widespread abuse directed at Zaha’s wife, Paige Bannister, over her perceived influence over the player’s transfer.

When the announcement came last night, some Palace supporter groups were unusually sniffy about how Zaha chose to break the news.

Reasoned: some fans took a balanced view of the developments

“Do you think Palace as a club and especially as a fanbase deserve a little bit better than this?” one tweeted in response to the Tik Tok messaging.

“This is how you say goodbye, Wilf?”

Others were more phlegmatic. “I don’t blame him at all for wanting a new challenge. Should have sold him in 2019 and rebuilt the team. Thanks for the memories, Wilf, and best of luck.”

Others reflected that, given the player’s age and his latest history of injury, the £10million per year in wages promised to Zaha might be better used across the playing budget.

In a message addressed to Palace fans via his own Instagram account, Zaha struck a respectful note.

He wrote, “We have been through so much together, including 10 years in the Prem…

“I am so proud to have played my part in getting us to the Prem and helping to keep us there.

“I’ve been wearing the Palace shirt since I was eight years old. It’s literally been my second skin and I always gave everything when I wore it…

“I grew up two roads away from the bright lights and loud crowds of Selhurst Park, having no idea that I would be at the centre of it all one day, and have the amazing journey I’ve had with this amazing club…

Au revoir?: Wilf Zaha’s farewell statement struck a graceful and considered note

“I want to thank Steve Parish [the club chairman], all of my teammates, coaches and the entire Palace fanbase for always believing in me and encouraging me to get to where I am today.

“I have been blessed to play in front of you and call you family from the day you accepted me. From the bottom of my heart, I’m forever grateful.”

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at
  • As featured on Google News Showcase
  • Our comments section on every report provides all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named among the country’s rottenest boroughs for a SIXTH successive year in 2022 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Crystal Palace FC, Football, South Norwood, Sport, Steve Parish, Wilfried Zaha and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply