Wilfried Zaha has been attracting plenty of attention from the English Premier League’s top clubs because he is an ideal transfer target.
Last season’s Football League's Young Player of the Year award winner has been linked to a move to Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham, according to Graeme York of The Daily Mail. The Sun's Charlie Wyett notes that Manchester City and Liverpool are also interested.
Zaha is a wonderful talent with a bright future, and Crystal Palace will be compensated handsomely for letting go of the starlet. He is not the next Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, but he certainly has the potential to develop into a first-team regular for a top-level Premiership side.
What makes him special right now is that he is a perfect buy for England’s top clubs. Here is why he is such an ideal purchase.
At just 20 years old, Zaha is in the window when it is most beneficial to sign new talent.
There are countless examples of talented teenagers turning into serious disappointments after making a high-profile move to a top club. But players in their early twenties have had a chance to prove themselves and are still young enough that they will not be outrageously expensive.
Zaha has proven that he is mature enough to contribute immediately for a club like Arsenal or Manchester United, but his best years still lie ahead of him.
Zaha’s age ensures that any team that buys him will get a positive return on the investment.
York notes that “Palace are hoping to get £20 million for Zaha but will realistically settle for half of that,” while Wyett reported that City are willing to pay £15 million for the winger.
At around £10 million, United, Arsenal and Spurs will be pushing and shoving to get their bids in. The Red Devils were willing to splash £16 million on Phil Jones, while the Gunners gave up £15 million for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tottenham paid £15 million for Moussa Dembele.
Liverpool was happy to spend £15 million on Joe Allen, while City had no problem throwing down £12 million for Matija Nastasic. Acquiring young talent is extremely important to all three of these clubs, and this is the price range at which they prefer to buy players.
There is a significant chance that Palace will refuse to sell him until the summer in order to ensure promotion into the Premier League, but after that, the offers will be far too tempting. Zaha is worth waiting for, and he is likely to be sold for a price that is ideal for these clubs.
Which team will Zaha be playing for next season?
Ultimately, Zaha’s talent is what makes him an excellent signing.
He certainly has the pace and stamina necessary to be a top-class winger. His dribbling ability and vision make him a threat to attack down either flank, making him a versatile threat.
With young, skilled players like him being uncommon, the club that signs him will be extremely pleased with the decision.
The Premier League’s top clubs will not pass up an opportunity to sign a young star at an attractive price. Until that happens, Zaha’s name will continue to show up in gossip columns.