Roy Hodgson delivers frank Wilfried Zaha transfer admission over Arsenal and Everton interest
It was a transfer saga that dominated the agenda when it came to Crystal Palace this summer, but Wilfried Zaha remained at the club despite interest from Arsenal and Everton.
The Ivory Coast international was heavily linked with a move away from Palace during the course of the summer transfer window, with both Arsenal and Everton having initial bids turned down by the Eagles, with their valuation of the player not met.
As such, Zaha stayed put despite submitting a transfer request the day before the transfer deadline.
He has since played in all four of Palace’s Premier League fixtures so far this season, including against Everton on the opening day when he came off the bench to face one of the sides that had tried to sign him.
But Hodgson has admitted that a deal could have been done, had the Eagles’ valuation been met, with Zaha expressing his desire to play Champions League football.
The Palace boss has, however, praised the 26-year-old’s attitude and how he has dealt with the disappointment of failing to secure a move away.
“We understood that if a really big offer comes his way and a much bigger club than Crystal Palace want him, and he is desperate to go, we are going to have to try and do some kind of deal,” said Hodgson.
“The unfortunate thing for Wilf is that offer did not come his way from the sort of club that he would want. I think Steve Parish has made that clear to Wilf and they’ve thrashed that side of it out.
“As a result it is not a major problem for me with Wilf coming back, having accepted the situation. The way he works here is just the same as it was. Since the first day he has been mature about it.”
Meanwhile, it has been reported by The Times that Zaha has now told his agent Will Salthouse that he wants to terminate their contract after failing to secure a move, with the report stating that the FA have been informed of a dispute between the 26-year-old and his agent, while Salthouse’s agency Unique Sports Management has been informed in writing of the player’s desire to end the relationship.
USM were involved in one big deal done by Palace this summer, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka making the move from south London to join Manchester United in a deal worth up to £50million.
And Hodgson has spoken about why that deal was allowed to happen from a Palace point of view, in contrast to the situation with Zaha.
“It was a simple case with Aaron Wan-Bissaka,” said Hodgson.
“When it becomes clear that this offer is on the table and he wants to go, you react with more experience than you would when you are younger.
“Then you look at things in a selfish way: ‘How many points is this going to cost and how much worse will the season be because of him going?’
“With Wilf, I don’t think anyone was thinking we definitely must block him because we want our best player still with us.”