Arsenal set to rival Man Utd with January bid for Wilfried Zaha
Crystal Palace wonderkid Wilfried Zaha is set to spark a January bidding frenzy from the Premier League’s elite clubs.
The 19-year-old England Under-21 forward is being tracked by a host of top clubs, principally Manchester United and Arsenal.
And it is the Gunners that are thought to be keen on making the first firm move for Zaha in January, with a £9m move mooted.
Palace co-chairman Steve Parish has claimed it will take £20m to secure the talented youngster’s signature, but that could be mere showmanship.
The Eagles have soared to 4th place in the Championship this season, and Zaha has been a crucial component of the team alerting the attention of a number of scouts.
The Ivory Coast-born striker scored twice in recent games against Wolves and Burnley, and was hugely influential as Palace won away from home at top-of-the-table rivals Leicester.
While Zaha is in no rush to leave South London, he would find it hard to turn down a move to one of the Premier League’s top clubs.
Manchester City and Liverpool are already thought to have made inquiries for the Football League’s 2011-12 Young Player of the Year, with Tottenham also keeping an eye on the teenager.
Arsenal are keen to snap up Zaha, if as it appears increasingly likely, Theo Walcott does not sign a new deal at the Emirates.
The Englishman supported the Gunners growing up, while manager Arsene Wenger can point to first-teamers Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Kieran Gibbs as proof that young Three Lions players are given plenty of chances at the club.
If Palace are still challenging at the top of the Championship in January then a transfer may not be sanctioned, but it is always a possibility due to financial gulf between the top tiers in English football.
Zaha made his debut at the age of just 17 for his only professional club, and has since become a regular in the starting line-up and is key to Palace’s promotion hunt this season.
Manchester United won’t want to miss out on the Championship’s most coveted player either, with Sir Alex Ferguson having tracked the £10m valued star since he tore the Red Devils apart at Old Trafford in the League Cup last season.
In recent seasons Zaha will have seen fellow Eagles graduates fly the nest to bigger clubs, although with varying degrees of success.
Whilst Victor Moses has impressed for Chelsea after using Wigan as a stepping stone from Palace, the once highly-rated John Bostock is currently on-loan from Spurs at Swindon Town having already spent time at three other football league clubs since leaving his first club.
Zaha has arguably more potential than both of those players and former colleague Nathanial Clyne – who joined Southampton this summer – and looks to have his pick of potential destinations.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.