Manchester United Transfer Rumors: Wilfried Zaha an Ideal Replacement for Nani

Ben Chodos@bchodosCorrespondent IINovember 19, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace during the npower Championship match between Crystal Palace and Derby County at Selhurst Park on November 17, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Manchester United is facing Nani’s seemingly inevitable exit, and Wilfried Zaha would be a perfect replacement on the wing.

The Daily Mail’s Graeme Yorke notes that a report from British tabloid The Sunday People quotes an unnamed source connected to the Red Devils as saying, “Sir Alex now thinks Zaha has the skill and bottle to play for United—and he wants him badly.”

Zaha’s current team, Crystal Palace, is currently leading the Championship division and in excellent position to be promoted to the Premier League. Zaha has helped the team significantly during its current campaign by contributing four goals. 

While the team will be tempted to hold on to its 20-year-old star in order to continue its quest towards promotion, they may not be able to refuse a sizable offer from the English giants.

Yorke also reported, “Palace are hoping to get £20 million for Zaha but will realistically settle for half of that—a figure United will gladly pay.”

Sir Alex Ferguson’s interest in the winger was certainly piqued last season when Zaha recorded an assist to help lead Palace over United in a League Cup fixture.

Fergie has also surely heard rave reviews from his son Darren—who currently manages Peterborough—after Zaha also recorded an assist and helped lead Palace to victory over the younger Ferguson’s side last month.

With excellent pace and skill, Zaha has the potential to make an immediate impact for United.

In all likelihood, there will be space for him in the lineup as contract talks with Nani have not gone well recently, as noted by The Daily Mail’s Joe Ridge.

The report notes that United will likely seek £12 million for the Portuguese winger, meaning they would not lose any money when swapping Nani for Zaha, and could even make a few million pounds.

From a football standpoint, they will be replacing their creative winger capable of playing on both sides of the pitch with a player who has a remarkably similar skill set.

Nani may be more accomplished than Zaha, but he is also six years older.

Zaha would join Tom Cleverley, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Danny Welbeck in the ranks of young, talented players who are capable of contributing now while also leading the next generation of United stars. 

The English international will help the Red Devils immediately if Nani leaves and will be of even greater befit to the team in the future. His skill and potential make Zaha an ideal transfer target for United.