3 Premier League giants who could take a chance on Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha


Wilfried Zaha has been in fine form once again in the early stages of the new Premier League season. He has five goals and one assist from his nine appearances, but importantly has matured, and is now much more than just his creativity in the final third.

The winger saved Palace yet again in their recent encounter with Wolves, with Zaha scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory at Selhurst Park on Tuesday evening. Fans of the club are all too familiar with the sight of their star man rescuing them, such has been his tendency to dig them out of difficult times over the years.

He now has 14 Premier League goals in 2022 so far, with only Harry Kane (22), Son Heung-min (18), Ivan Toney (16) and Erling Haaland (15) scoring more.

As noted by his manager Patrick Vieira, Zaha’s game has evolved in recent times, and he is now fighting back to defend just as much as he is attacking down the wing. The 29-year-old is also acting as the perfect role model to young Palace players such as Eberechi Eze, Tyrick Mitchell and Michael Olise. If they go on to have the Palace career that Zaha has enjoyed, then they will count themselves very fortunate indeed.

The Ivory Coast attacker has, of course, not always been at Selhurst Park, most notably spending time away from the club during a brief spell at Manchester United. For various reasons, the move didn’t work out, with the winger playing just four times for the Red Devils.

Will his story with a Premier League giant end there, or is there another top club out there willing to take a chance on Zaha’s current and future ability? His five-year Palace contract comes to an end next summer, and there may just be a battle for his signature should the Eagles fail to tie him down for the long term.

But which clubs could be involved in such a battle?

Arsenal to chase Zaha one last time?

Arsenal have long been linked with a move for Zaha, with his technicality and spirit often highlighted as fitting in well with the Gunners’ system, along with his direct approach in the final third. But despite very strong links at times, the Ivory Coast international has remained with the Eagles, forcing Mikel Arteta to look for attacking options elsewhere.

Arteta currently has the hugely talented Gabriel Martinelli at his disposal at left wing, and it would take some doing to replace the Brazilian in the starting lineup. The Gunners also have Bukayo Saka as a regular on the right.
Squad depth in that area may, however, be a concern for the manager. Currently sidelined with a lengthy injury, Emile Smith Rowe is seemingly his back up to Martinelli, while recent recruit Marquinhos has often replaced Saka on the right.

Youngster Ethan Nwaneri could also be played out wide, but the 15-year-old is much too young to be handed any real responsibility by Arteta. Reiss Nelson meanwhile looks set to have a future away from north London.

Given Arsenal’s aims this season domestically and in Europe, the boss boasts a squad that is capable of challenging on both fronts, and he now has two strong options in pretty much every area of the pitch. Zaha could be added to his roster if the manager feels like strengthening his choices going forward.

The fact the winger is 29 years old may, however, put the Gunners off a deal, with Arteta currently building a very youthful side.


Chelsea to rebrand under Potter?

More recently than Arsenal’s links to Zaha have been Premier League rivals Chelsea, who could be tempted with a rethink in the final third, particularly with new boss Graham Potter in charge.

The Blues manager has enjoyed a superb start to life at Stamford Bridge, and is now unbeaten in his six matches in the dugout, winning five of those. He has stabilised the club, with Chelsea previously struggling for consistency under former boss Thomas Tuchel.

That said, there are still areas of the squad that Potter will want to improve, while perhaps more importantly this is not exactly his team. The manager has inherited this squad from Tuchel, and so may just delve into the market as early as January to find some of his own choices. The finances are certainly available to do just that.

Chelsea have always been blessed with attacking talent, with the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz leading their current crop. But wingers such as Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic have failed to land a regular spot in the starting XI, and could be moved on in the near future to create funds and space for new faces.

Liverpool to sneak in for Zaha?

Perhaps a dark horse to make an attempt for Zaha are Liverpool, with manager Jurgen Klopp previously speaking openly about his admiration for the player. Calciomercato claims that a deal may just be in the offing next summer.

Despite the Reds strengthening in attack in recent months, a move for a winger may just make sense. Liverpool lost key forward Sadio Mane in the summer to Bayern Munich, and his loss at left wing has become evident in the early stages of the new season.

While the Merseyside outfit have added Luis Diaz in that role, he has since been ruled out with a lengthy injury, recently joined on the sidelines by fellow forward Diogo Jota. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Darwin Nunez remain available, but whether this is enough for Liverpool to compete on all fronts looks increasingly unlikely.

AC Milan winger Rafael Leao has also been named in various Liverpool transfer reports, with the attacker undoubtedly a dream player for Klopp to work with in the years to come. But perhaps Zaha, given his Premier League experience and lower transfer fee, is a more realistic option. 

Klopp also has youngsters Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho at his disposal, but Zaha’s experience could be what the boss wants in order to provide some stability to his squad. The Ivorian has now made 287 Premier League appearances, scoring 66 goals in that time.