Arsenal latest club to register interest in Palace hot property
Gunners firm up interest in much sought-after teenage winger
Theo Walcott’s Arsenal future has been cast into further doubt by the emergence of reports that the Gunners have entered the race to sign Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha.
Arsene Wenger’s men have made a steady start to Premier League proceedings, though early talk of them challenging for the title has cooled since their recent loss to Chelsea. Ladbrokes now price them at 12/1 to win their first league title since 2004.
With Walcott’s contract up in the summer of 2013, speculation was rife that he would be moved on in the transfer window just passed. This failed to materialise but, if the England international fails to agree an extension shortly he is likely to be shipped off in January; it’s difficult to envisage frugal Wenger letting such an asset leave for nothing.
This would pave the way for Ivorian-born Zaha’s move to the Emirates.
Palace’s youth academy has churned out many a talent in seasons gone by, with Victor Moses being the biggest success story. He showed what a threat he could be at the end of last season at Wigan, earning him a big money move to Chelsea and Zaha is a player in similar mould.
He began this season enduring a barren spell in front of goal, though he has recently found his shooting boots, netting a brace in each of his last two games as his sides’ incredible run in the Championship continues.
After a dismal start, the club has climbed to fourth in the table following six wins from seven matches with Zaha’s creativity from a wide berth playing a key part in that.
He wouldn’t have the exuberant, unwarranted wage demands that Walcott is apparently requesting and, after establishing himself as a wide-man with the Eagles, he wouldn’t be constantly bleating on about how he should be playing up front either.
Most importantly, however, at 19 he has the potential that Walcott had but never sufficiently fulfilled and, with Wenger said to have instructed former assistant Pat Rice to go and personally scout the England under-21 man, his interest would appear genuine.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date