Anyone playing Summer Transfer Window Bingo, here’s one for you to tick off. Wilfried Zaha has asked to leave Crystal Palace yet again.
The Ivorian has asked to leave Palace every summer since 2019, when Arsenal and Everton were both keen but baulked at the near-£100m price tag the Eagles slapped on Zaha’s head.
The 28-year-old now has two years left on his contract – meaning this is the last summer in which Palace can demand anywhere close to his true market value – and The Times say Zaha has urged his side to take that opportunity while they can.
Zaha recently confessed that he would be open to leaving Selhurst Park this summer to join a team capable of competing for major silverware. Palace have finished 14th in each of the last two Premier League seasons and have not finished in the top half since they ended the 2014/15 season in tenth.
Palace will undoubtedly be reluctant to say goodbye to their talisman, particularly with heir-to-the-throne Ebere Eze facing seven or eight months on the sidelines through injury, but they may find the chance to cash in and embark on a rebuild too tough to turn down.
No fewer than 14 members of their first team are out of contract this summer – a group which no longer includes striker Christian Benteke, who signed a two-year extension on Thursday – and the Eagles also need to find a manager to replace the departed Roy Hodgson.
Palace have always been keen to squeeze every penny out of potential suitors as they must pay 25% of the profit they make on Zaha to Manchester United, who sold the winger back to Palace for £6m in 2016.
A £40m fee would see Palace pocket £31.5m, with United entitled to £8.5m of such a deal, so you can see why the Eagles have tried to push their luck once or twice.
Zaha started last season in red-hot form, bagging seven goals in his first nine Premier League appearances, but things quickly tailed off for the Ivorian and he added just four more over the remaining 29 matches.