Wilfried Zaha: Move to Old Trafford Would Make Manchester United Unstoppable

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace  in action 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

Much sought-after striker Wilfried Zaha has been linked to numerous clubs this month, among them English powerhouses like Arsenal and Tottenham. But in the end, as is so often the case, it appears one powerhouse—Manchester United—is ready to trump the competition.

Per John Cross of The Daily Mirror:

Sir Alex Ferguson has blown Arsenal and Spurs out of the race for Wilfried Zaha with a £12million package.

United are believed to have offered £8m plus add-ons - a loan-back option for the rest of the season and the promise of further player loans to Palace to boost their bid for promotion from the Championship - which take the whole package up to around £12m.

That's a Godfather offer to the utmost, blowing the water off anything Arsenal or Spurs are capable—or willing—of tendering. That, ostensibly, makes it close to a done deal that Zaha will be lining up in Old Trafford.

Which in turn spells impending trouble for every club in England—and the world.

Zaha, just 20 years old, is a hot commodity for a reason. He was awarded the Football League's "Young Player of the Year Award" in 2012. He's also preposterously experienced for a player his age, having already made 121 appearances for current club Crystal Palace. Among those includes an upset of none other than Manchester United two Decembers ago.

Per The Sunday People (via The Daily Mail), Sir Alex Ferguson has kept an eye on Zaha since that performance, a United source saying:

Sir Alex now thinks Zaha has the skill and bottle to play for United – and he wants him badly.

That interest was supplemented when, this November, Zaha ripped apart Peterborough—a side coached by Ferguson's son Darren. After the game, BBC Sport quoted the younger Ferguson gushing over Zaha:

Zaha is the best player in this league [the Championship] and will go to the top. He was unplayable at times...

With that, the knighted Ferguson had seen and heard enough, and now appears ready to propose an offer Crystal Palace can't refuse.

So what does that mean for the rest of the Premiership? In a word, trouble.

Manchester United has already enjoyed immense success on the attack this year. They've scored 54 goals in 21 contests—an exorbitant average of 2.57 per game—which places them 13 goals clear of Manchester City, the league's second-ranked attack. Robin Van Persie (16 goals), Javier Hernandez (eight goals) and Wayne Rooney (seven goals) have all been in rare form all season long.

Zaha is viewed as the perfect replacement for long-time Red Devil Nani. The Portuguese winger has a rapidly expiring contact, and is thought to be on the outs.

Nani is an incredibly skilled winger, but he appears to have run his course at Old Trafford. Whether Zaha can come in and perform "better" is up for debate, but he'll certainly provide something different. Swapping Zaha for Nani wouldn't be addition by subtraction; it would be addition by transformation.

What's more, Zaha would gain from the experience of playing with Manchester United. He would get a chance to grow and improve alongside fellow blue-chip youngster Danny Welbeck. The scariest thing about Zaha is that, for all his present bravura, he hasn't even begun to scratch the surface of his potential.

There's no better place in the world to cultivate said potential than under Sir Alex in Old Trafford. If that's the way events transpire—as it appears is the case—it could have a major impact on the world football landscape.


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