With the news that Liverpool has lost forward Fabio Borini for at least three months and a dearth of attacking options in general, the Reds desperately need to add talented forwards or wingers.
Even if they have to spend a lot of cash to land a youngster like Wilfried Zaha.
And that's exactly what they'll have to do if they have Zaha in mind, according to Crystal Palace's co-chairman Steve Parish. As Alex Hankin of The Mirror reports, Parish is asking quite the price for his prized youngster:
Winger Zaha, 19, has been scouted by Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, and bids are expected in January. But Parish has told the South London Press that the club's prize asset isn't going cheap.
"He is an extraordinary talent," Parish said. "I said at the start of the season that keeping hold of Wilf would be like spending a lot of money on a transfer. Other sides can fly their kites but it would take £20m before we even got interested.
I don't doubt his sincerity in this regard. His logic for the steep cost makes sense:
“All the teams have got to understand that you get £60m in TV money if you get into the Premier League, which is where we want to get. So we’d need to be compensated for reducing our chances of getting there.”
I don't think he's bluffing. I think he honestly expects at least £20 million to part ways with Zaha. The question remains, however: Is Zaha actually worth that much scratch?
In 39 appearances last year, Zaha scored nine goals and tallied seven assists. Thus far this year, he already has four goals and two assists after 11 games.
Zaha seems like a great fit for the system Brendan Rodgers wants to run at Liverpool. He's a dangerous player if given space on the flank, is adept at beating defenders in one-on-one situations and obviously has a knack for scoring goals that should only develop more as he gains experience.
Oh, and he also doesn't lack for flair.
Yes, the cost is high, and Zaha may not have the instant impact Liverpool fans would want. But here's the thing—given Liverpool's sluggish start, what's the smarter strategy: overpaying for quick fixes that won't help the long-term vision of this team, or adding players that Rodgers can develop to compete for the Premier League title over the next five years?
Haven't the Reds spent enough money on veteran busts over the years?
That's why I would take the latter approach. Come January, the race for the title—or even a spot in the Champions League—may very well be completely unrealistic for the Reds. Splashing a bit of extra cash to land a future star may not be sexy in the short term, but Liverpool supporters may be loving the move in a year or so.
The Reds need to do something, that much is for certain. If they can't salvage this season, why not build a stronger base for years to come?
Let Palace charge a steep ransom for Zaha. In the long run, it will be the Reds who have the last laugh.
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