Manchester City Transfer News: Wilfried Zaha Dismisses Palace Exit Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 14:  Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace reacts during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion at Selhurst Park on April 14, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha wants to stay at the club this summer despite speculation linking him the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

The Ivory Coast international is enjoying the finest season of his career and has been vital in Palace's move clear of relegation trouble in recent weeks. Rumours about his future have gathered pace of late, but Zaha told his club's website he is delighted playing his football where he is (h/t Ed Malyon of The Independent):

"Crystal Palace is my hometown, and the support we have here is genuine support, with families watching with their kids loving us as players, so I don’t really see myself anywhere else. I am enjoying my football here and just focused on us being a stable club and not having to listen to all the speculation about us getting relegated."

As Malyon noted, Tottenham tried to land Zaha last summer. The north London club is said to still hold an interest in the 25-year-old.

Zaha has been linked to some huge clubs lately.
Zaha has been linked to some huge clubs lately.MB Media/Getty Images

According to Sky Sports, City are also keeping an eye on the former Manchester United man's development.

Admiring glances from teams so high up the table are not a surprise, as many would argue that outside the division's top six clubs, there's no better player than Zaha. As Sky Sports Statto noted, he's one of the most prolific players Palace have had in the top flight:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

Wilfried Zaha has become the 3rd player to score 20+ goals for Crystal Palace in their PL history after Chris Armstrong (23) & Andrew Johnson (21) #PL https://t.co/fZaCy8EP90

Zaha has had time at the top before, moving to Manchester United from Palace in 2013 amid much fanfare. However, he struggled to make an impact at Old Trafford, and following a loan back to the Eagles, he re-signed with the club in 2015.

While there are still raw facets to his game that may prevent some top clubs from making a move for Zaha, he can be devastating. The winger has it all, including blistering pace, flair and a physical frame that makes him hard to knock off the ball.

Hodgson has been able to get the best out of Zaha.
Hodgson has been able to get the best out of Zaha.Christopher Lee/Getty Images

There have been marked improvements in his decisions in the final third under Roy Hodgson's leadership, chipping in with seven goals this season. As Squawka Football noted, his brace against Brighton & Hove Albion in the recent 3-2 win was another step forward:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Wilfried Zaha has scored two goals in a Premier League game for the first time in his career. The last time he scored a brace was also against Brighton; May 2013 in the Championship play-offs. https://t.co/8NYW2zb0y7

Most teams in Palace's position would find it tough to hold on to Zaha, although his previous venture to the top may work in their favour.

After all, they appear set to stay in the Premier League after a ropey start, and it's clear Zaha is content with life in south London. Additionally, in Hodgson, the forward appears to have a coach capable of getting the best out of him.

Palace's play is channeled through Zaha, and he's beginning to relish the responsibility of being the main man in the final third. He will surely be keen to test himself at the highest level again one day, but he doesn't appear in any rush to leave his boyhood club.