Manchester United are set to spark a five-way transfer battle in January by allowing England starlet Wilfried Zaha to leave on loan for the second half of the season.
Zaha has not played a competitive game for United since his £15 million summer move from Crystal Palace, so David Moyes will send the youngster out for first-team action, reports Laurie Whitwell of the Daily Mail:
Wilfried Zaha is set to leave Manchester United on loan in the January transfer window as he looks to get first team experience in the Premier League …
Zaha has turned out for the club’s development side but is aware that regular top-flight football is required if he is to stand a chance of making Roy Hodgson’s squad if England qualify for next year’s World Cup.
No place in the England squad, then, for Ashley Young, Raheem Sterling, Gareth Barry and Wilfried Zaha.— Times Sport (@TimesSport) October 3, 2013
Should Zaha spend the second part of the campaign away from Old Trafford, there will be a host of clubs hoping to benefit from his services—not least former employers Crystal Palace.
Adrian Kajumba reports, per the Daily Star:
Swansea, West Brom, Stoke, Newcastle and his old club Crystal Palace have all enquired after the skillful winger …
United have knocked back a string of enquiries from Championship clubs. But boss David Moyes is keen to get Zaha up to Premier League speed so could be convinced to let him join a top-flight club.
The struggles of Zaha come as no surprise. The 21-year-old was clearly a raw talent at Palace, capable of brilliance—but also in desperate need of coaching.
Zaha is blessed with sensational skills, as exhibited in last year’s Championship playoff final, when he tormented the Watford defence and won the match-winning penalty.
However, a return of eight goals last season for a player of his talent highlights the need to make the right choices at the business end of the pitch, something Moyes clearly does not see in the winger’s makeup as yet.
The Scot recently explained his plans for introducing young players, saying via BBC Sport:
We will be looking for a balance of experience and youth. We will be trying to introduce new young players at the right times but also rely a lot on the great experience many of the players have at Manchester United.
Unsubstantiated rumours of a fallout between player and coach have not aided Zaha’s settling-in period at United, and it makes sense to give the precocious talent a new environment.
Evidence from United’s midweek Champions League draw in Shakhtar Donetsk, which saw them get men behind the ball in numbers, suggests Moyes is focused on getting his defence right before concentrating on the attack.
Would Zaha improve United's attack?
However, there remains the distinct possibility that Zaha is still needed at United this term if the champions continue to struggle in front of goal.
They are still to score a league goal from open play since the opening day of the campaign, due in part to the underwhelming form of wide men Nani, Antonio Valencia and Shinji Kagawa.
Zaha has the skills to excite an increasingly disillusioned Old Trafford crowd and breathe unpredictability into a United attack that currently lacks imagination. He has until January to make his manager see that potential.