Aston Villa worthy rivals to Arsenal for England new-boy Zaha

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Wilfried Zaha is the hottest of hot properties at present, especially after his call up into the England squad and there is sure to be a vast amount of interest in his signature in January.

Zaha’s performances have been the leading reason why Crystal Palace surprisingly top the Championship standings and the Eagles will be desperate to hold onto their star asset, at least until the end of the season.

Ian Holloway previously proved at Blackpool with Charlie Adam that he knows how to drive a hard bargain for his most sought-after players and so Zaha is unlikely to come cheap to interested parties.

Paying upwards of £10m for a player with no top-flight experience represents a risk and Sunderland have discovered with Connor Wickham that things can go wrong when plucking youngsters from the Championship seen to have untapped potential.

Zaha’s directness and ability to commit defenders would be an asset for almost every Premier League club, particularly those that play a variation of 4-3-3 or 4-5-1.

It is Arsenal that lead the market to be Zaha’s next club at 7/4 and more wide options at the Emirates would be needed if Theo Walcott left on a free in the summer or Andrey Arshavin quit the club.

Wenger made a similar signing with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton and so although he is known for his tight nature, the Frenchman will spend if for the right player.

Tottenham and Liverpool are next in the betting to be Zaha’s next club, but Aston Villa are an interesting proposition at 10/1.

Villa have improved in their last two games since giving up on a 4-4-2 formation, but have been forced into playing strikers in the wide berths because of a lack of alternate options, especially with Charles N’Zogbia injured.

Paul Lambert showed at Norwich last season that he was more than happy to recruit from the lower leagues and he has done the same at Villa, with Joe Bennett, Matt Lowton and Ashley Westwood being given opportunities.

Gabby Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann are considered more goal getters than goal makers and Villa certainly need more players other than Stephen Ireland to provide service to Christian Benteke.

Zaha ticks all the boxes for Villa and Randy Lerner previously showed with Darren Bent that he is prepared to find the money for one big signing if the club look in some relegation trouble.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.