Posts Tagged ‘Wilfried Zaha’

Football

So just how good is Wilfried Zaha? Here’s an interesting take on what he achieved at Palace

By Stefano on January 25th, 2013

So just how good is Wilfried Zaha. Julius from one Gunner Gooner blog might be an Arsenal fan, but he has also seen a lot of Palace in the last few years. Here is his assessment of Zaha and his take on whether Arsene Wenger should have tried a little harder to sign him.

I like to call Crystal Palace my South London club. My first ever football match was to watch The Eagles at Selhurst Park, and ever since I have kept up the connection. I always keep up with Palace’s results and, if possible, watch them down in SE25.

This deep lying love for the club means that I have been lucky enough to watch Wilfried Zaha turn into the player he is today. Frankly, how he’s gone unsnatched for this long is nothing short of remarkable. Although it seems he shall don the colours of our fierce rivals Manchester United from next season, he is still a wonderfully gifted footballer that should be appreciated by lovers of football in general.

What Sort of Player Is He?

Since Darren Ambrose left for Birmingham in the summer, Zaha has become Palace’s new talisman. And a better one at that. Put simply, he is their only star player. Crystal Palace play with a basic 4-2-3-1 formation, and strong defensive midfielders in Mile Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi give the three attacking midfielders a licence to roam. Yannick Bolasie, Oven Garvan and Andre Moritz all rotate in the AM positions, but Zaha is the only consistent starter.

It speaks volumes about the raw quality he has. He can do anything. He has astonishing pace, a low centre of gravity for someone as moderately tall as 5ft 11 and a brilliant shot. At times, Palace just give him the ball and he’ll do something special. Against Peterborough in November, when desperately needing a winner to remain top, they gave the ball to Zaha. He ran half the length of the field and cut it back for Dikgacoi to score in the final few minutes. He’s that kind of player for Crystal Palace: a talisman but also a leader by example.

If he had moved to Arsenal, he could have slotted in quite nicely. He would most likely have operated down the left flank. As a right footer, he has an unbelievable talent for bamboozling full backs before cutting inside then passing or shooting. Think of him in dribbling form as the Gervinho of the Championship. But before that puts you off, his end product is one of the strongest points of his game, and some of the goals he scores and assists are extremely impressive.

What Is His True Value?

Only now is he starting to blossom. For a while now has he been a consistently good performer for The Eagles, but this season he has suddenly stepped up. He buzzes around more than he used to, and has worked on his strength, which invariably comes with age. Now that his potential is being realised, it allows Palace to drive a hard bargain. And my God to they cling onto their talent. Neil Danns and Nathaniel Clyne, two of Palace’s best players in the 10/11 and 11/12 seasons respectively, were in the final year of their contracts. Even when it became apparent that neither wanted to remain, instead of cashing in (it was reported that there were offers on the table for Clyne as high as £7m), they stuck to their guns and held them to their contracts. Both left on free transfers the following summers. Bear in mind that this is a cash strapped club we’re talking about that, only a season ago, managed to claw their way out of administration. Manchester United have reportedly made a down payment of £10m, with the fee rising to as high as £15m depending on his success at the Red Devils. This seems fairly steep for a 20 year old that has never played at a level higher than the second tier but these days quality costs.

Would He Have Been A Good Signing For Arsenal?

In a nutshell, probably. The jump from taking on Peterborough’s Craig Alcock to Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic is obviously a big one, and many of the Championship’s best players have often struggled to make the step up (David Nugent being a prime example). I would like to see him as another future first teamer as he is unlikely to be the kind of player that will have an instant impact. We wouldn’t have needed him at all given how stocked our wings are. This means that buying him at an inflated price in January would have been a bit silly unless every forward at Arsenal suddenly develops osteoporosis. He still needs time to develop, and the Crystal Palace setup that churned out Victor Moses and Nathaniel Clyne is not a bad place for Zaha to continue his footballing education.

In conclusion, Zaha has remarkable ability. Without him, Palace would be midtable or worse, and his ability to save the day for The Eagles slightly reminds this Arsenal supporter of he who shall not be named. If he is to wear the picnic shirt of our northern rivals from next season, it will be a shame but also a testament to the raw talent this winger possesses . Eagles fans often call him the Ronaldo of the Championship. Whether he could fall under the same bracket as Cristiano in the Premier League is the big question. He certainly has that little glint in his eye.



Football

Wilfried Zaha about to undergo medical at Man United. Five and half year deal agreed.

By Stefano on January 24th, 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson’s ongoing campaign to snap up the best young British talent continues with the news that Crystal Palace’s exceptional winger Wilfried Zaha is to join the club.

The player is said to be on his way to Old Trafford to undergo a medical after agreeing a £15 million move and a five and half year contract.

It sounds like great news for United fans. But Palace have done pretty well out of the transfer too. Not only is £15 million a lot of money for Championship player – it is roughly the same amount that Arsenal paid Southampton for Alex Oxlade Chamberlain – but United have agreed to loan the player back to Palace for the rest of the season.

According to the Beeb

United will pay £10m up front, with the fee potentially rising to £15m based on Zaha’s appearances and success. The player has scored 15 goals in 124 appearances for the Eagles since his debut against Cardiff in March 2010.

Zaha’s arrival once casts doubts on the long term future of Nani. In spite of apparent interest from Arsenal the player seems set to stay at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future, but when Zaha arrives in the summer the out of favour Portuguese winger will surely be on his way.



Football

Arsenal ‘never in’ for Wilfried Zaha. Man United hold further talks with the Palace winger

By Stefano on January 22nd, 2013

Man United’s chase of Wilfried Zaha seems finally to be reaching a conclusion with the BBC reporting that the two clubs are going to hold further talks today. The main issue appears to be whether Zaha will be loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season to help the side’s promotion campaign.

Ben Smith of the BBC said earlier.

“United are understood to be willing to pay £12m for Zaha and will would then loan him back to the Championship club for the rest of the seaso. Both clubs have refused to comment on a proposed deal for the 20-year-old. But an agreement could be reached by the end of the week for a player who won his first England cap against Sweden in November.”

Meanwhile Arsenal have completely pulled out of the race for the Gunners supporting player.

Arsene Wenger told a news conference this morning that

” I don’t know if he will go to Man United. If he goes to Man United, good luck to him. We were never in for Zaha.”

I think that had Theo Walcott not signed a new contract Arsenal would have been more interested in the player. Zaha has been one of the best players in the Championship this year and if he can replicate his Palace form in the Premiership he is likely to be a huge star at Old Trafford.



Football

Man United boss Fergie meets Wilfried Zaha – £15 million deal imminent

By Stefano on January 21st, 2013

It seems as if Sir Alex Ferguson might have shunned the odd glass of Merlot – or maybe something warmer – with AVB last night as he had other business to attend to.

The Mirror is reporting that the United boss made a beeline for a London hotel to meet Crystal Palace’s highly rated tricky winger Wilfried Zaha.

The Mirror says

Manchester United have agreed a staggering £15 million deal to sign wonder kid Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace.

Boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been backed by his money men in his bid to land the England starlet and Palace have accepted a fee that guarantees them £10 million.

The extra £5 million will come in appearances and achievements and the whole total is more than the Eagles could refuse for their young attacker.

In the race to sign the winger United always seem to have the edge over their rivals Arsenal in spite of the fact that Zaha is a Gunners fan. The winger is apparently happy to move to Manchester and it shows how keen the United boss is to sign him.

Arsenal have spent big on young Championship talent in the past with the £15 million forked out for Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. However the club is eerily silent on Zaha, even though Wenger is known to be a huge fan.

If the deal goes through it does throw up the question of what will happen to Nani? The Portuguese winger was lined with moves to Arsenal and other clubs in December and in spite of the that it was reported that he was going nowhere he might now be deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.

There’s also no word on whether Zaha would stay at Palace for the rest of the season or head straight away to Old Trafford.



Football

Arsenal update: BBC says Walcott to sign today, Zaha favours move to Man United

By Stefano on January 18th, 2013

Ok, so he still hasn’t actually ‘signed da ting’, but the BBC at least is confident that Theo Walcott is about to splash the ink on a new deal at Arsenal. It even suggests it could be done today.

They say

“Agreements have now been reached between Arsenal and their top scorer, who could put pen to paper on Friday if legal formalities can be completed.”

So there’s no source and no details, but the BBC don’t tend to run stories like this unless they are very confident in their facts.

Arsene Wenger said yesterday that he was 99% sure that Walcott would agree a new deal.

Slightly disappointing news for Gunners fan comes from Goal.com which claims that Arsenal target Wilfried Zaha is on the verge of becoming a Man United player. Apparently The Reds have bid £6 million for the winger.

They say.

United made the first formal move on Thursday for the forward, who has privately told the Premier League leaders that he favours a move to Old Trafford ahead of the Gunners.

Palace have rejected United’s cash offer as they hold out for a higher fee and will wait to see if Arsenal will also make a bid.

It will be interesting to see if Wenger now makes his move.



Football

Arsenal update: Wenger confirms interest in Edinson Cavani. No move for Zaha yet

By Stefano on January 17th, 2013

In a move sure to massively excite Arsenal fans Arsène Wenger has confirmed his interest in the 25 year old Uruguayan Napoli striker Edinson Cavani – a player who ticks both the marquee signing and RVP replacement boxes.

When asked about the player who has been in scintillating form for Napoli in Serie A this season scoring 16 goals (one less than RVP) Wenger replied

“Cavani is a player that I like. Will he cost a lot of money? That’s for sure. Nobody would deny that. [But] our banker lives just next to me at the moment and he is ready if we find the right player.”

A fee of around £30 million has been rumoured.

Wenger also gave an update on possible Arsenal movements for Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha.

“We are looking at him, but at the moment we have not made any bid for him. I don’t know if Manchester United are in for him. Anyway, if you call any club for any player, they will tell you Man Utd, Milan, Real Madrid are as well in for him, but it is always difficult to know if it is true or not.”

Wenger also told Arsenal fans to be patient as he looks to make his signings at the end of the window.

“The prices always go up at the start of the transfer market and go down in the last week. Sometimes as well they go up in the last week, but it depends. Most of the time they go down in the last week and you know as well that 90% of transfer activity happens in the last week, if not in the last 48 hours.”

Pic Wikipedia



Football

Arsenal update: Walcott contract almost signed, Kaka linked, Zaha saga rumbles on

By Stefano on January 17th, 2013

There isn’t a huge amount of Arsenal news this morning, but a couple of papers seem to have picked up on a story originally posted by London’s Evening Standard that Theo Walcott’s contract is with his lawyers and is waiting to be signed.

The paper reports

The contract is in the hands of lawyers and, although the exact structure of the deal is yet to be finalised, it is believed the total package is worth in the region of £20million, which includes a seven-figure signing-on fee.

It is thought Walcott could earn as much as £100,000 a week, including bonuses and other performance-related incentives.

Interestingly the paper believes that there’s no mention in the contract of Walcott playing upfront as a striker. Last night Walcott seemed to alternate between playing on the wing and moving through the middle alongside Olivier Giroud. He might not have scored but the player created a lot of chances.

Asked about the Walcott situation and new signings Wenger said

“We are working very hard. First of all we want to sort out the injuries and we are trying very hard to close the deal with Walcott. Once we have done that, we will certainly do something else. At the moment I cannot tell you more.”

There’s an update from Wenger here.

In today’s add one and one and make five Fanatix is suggesting that Real Madrid’s Kaka is an Arsenal target. It bases this on the view that Wenger is considering buying an experienced player and was considering Villa etc. It then links to a report in the Spanish paper El Economista that says Madrid are desperate to get rid of Kaka in a bid to reduce their wage bill. Apparently he could be available on a free transfer.

Lastly The Mail says that Man United are going to make the first move in the battle to sign Wilfried Zaha in presenting Palace with a £6 million offer for the winger. The paper says

The Barclays Premier League leaders are confident they are the only serious contenders to sign Zaha this month and are using that belief to drive the price down.

Well, over to you then Arsene.

Pic Wikipedia



Football

Arsenal update – Wenger tells Al Jazeera Sport he will ‘spend big’ on adding two players to the squad

By Stefano on January 15th, 2013

Oh Arsene – you are such a tease! On a comparatively quiet day for Arsenal transfer gossip we suddenly get this from the man himself.

Wenger has been talking to Al Jazeera Sport and in an interview which was conducted prior to the City game, and has been broadcast by Talk Sport today, he maintains that he will “spend big” again but continue to look to build the core of the team from within.

Tantalisingly for Arsenal fans Wenger even mentions the number of players he would like to sign.

He says

“My plan is to keep all of the players we have and then to add maybe, if possible, two new players to the squad. We will spend big (again) because we had restricted finances because we had built the stadium and had to pay that back.”

So who will those two players be then? The clever money is on a midfielder and a striker with Adrian Lopez, Yoann Gourcuff, Wilfried Zaha and Etienne Capoue the hottest names for now. Earlier today Arsenal were linked with West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame, but Hammers boss Sam Allardyce says he hasn’t had a call from the Arsenal boss.

Referring to the way in which he managed the team during Arsenal’s lean financial years – when they were paying for the stadium – Wenger said

“We stayed at the top level, yes without winning the Premier League, but we were always at the top level. Now we have come out in a much stronger position financial again, so we can spend. But our way is a bit like Barcelona as well, to produce the core of the team from inside and add from outside the players who give really a plus.”

So will Arsene sign two players? And if so are two players enough to ensure Champions League football at The Emirates next season?



Football

Arsenal and Man United to start talks with Wilfried Zaha this week

By Stefano on January 14th, 2013

The extended saga of the transfer of Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace to a Premiership club seems finally to be heading for a conclusion. According to Goal, both Man United and Arsenal will have talks with the player (Sky Sports News is also running the story) and that ‘Zaha’s destination is “50-50″ between United and Arsenal, with the final decision to rest with the player himself.’

That might prove to be good news for Arsenal, given that Zaha is a fan of the club. However Palace manager Ian Holloway is reputedly keen to keep Zaha on loan for the rest of the season as his side pushes for promotion to the Premiership. Alex Ferguson is said to be happy with this arrangement, but Arsene Wenger, aware of his the lack of depth in his squad, would want Zaha immediately.

Zaha’s decision might also come down to money. Again this favours United as Ferguson has consistently spent big on players that he deems to be essential. Meanwhile Wenger’s cut price offers have seen him lose players to other clubs in the recent past most notably Gary Cahill and Juan Mata who both ended up at Stamford Bridge rather than The Emirates.

The bidding is likely to start at around £10 million.



Football

Arsene Wenger ‘cautious, but optimistic’ that Theo Walcott will sign

By Stefano on January 11th, 2013

If you thought it was a done deal then think again. In spite of endless speculation that the player was on the verge of re-signing for Arsenal, manager Arsene Wenger has told reporters (and it has been confirmed by BBC Radio Five Live) that he is ‘cautious, but optimistic’ that Theo Walcott will sign a new contract.

In some ways the news that the deal still has a way to go is not surprising given that Arsenal are linked once again with several new players including Palace’s Wilfrioed Zaha, who would be a direct replacement for the England winger/striker

Wenger full statement was…

“We’re on a good road with Theo’s negotiations. I’m more optimistic this week than last week. The discussions have progressed smoothly but slowly. As long as nothing is signed, you are cautious. I’m optimistic we’ll get to a happy conclusion.”

Pic from Wikipedia



Football

Arsenal update: Wilfried Zaha talks and ‘favourites’ to land Loic Remy

By Stefano on January 11th, 2013

After a couple of quiet days the Arsenal transfer rumour machine has been very active in the last few hours linking the club with several new signings.

The Indie has a pair of stories claiming that Wenger has made a move for the talented Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, while it also suggests Arsenal are now favourite to scoop Marseilles’ experienced striker Loic Remy.

Zaha had been assumed in the last few days to definitely be United bound, and Wenger himself poured a bit of cold water on the  rumours a few weeks ago. Now it appears that the chase is back on.

The Indie says

Arsenal have certainly been active observers of the winger, about whom United have opened discussions with Palace, with the north London club’s chief scout, Steve Rowley, present at several of his games.

Admittedly no other papers are saying that Arsenal have a chance to land the 20 year old – the rest are going with him signing for United and being loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season.

The Indie, and a lot of other papers, also have the story that Arsene Wenger is making a late move to sign Marseilles striker Loic Remy. The 26 year old, who has been chased by QPR and Newcastle is apparently an Arsenal fan and would cost the Gunners in  the region of £10 milion.

The paper says

In his first two seasons Rémy scored 37 goals in all competitions, but this campaign has been a struggle.

Inter had been keen on a move for the forward, but they preferred to offer a player as part-exchange in the deal and that has not appealed to Marseilles. Wenger is also keen on Anderlecht holding midfielder Lucas Biglia.

Lastly David Villa showed some form last night in scoring two excellent goals in Barcelona’s 5-0 Copa del Rey win over Cordoba. According to the gossip Villa wants to go, Barca want keep him and Wenger is in two minds. I don’t think we have heard the last of this yet.



Football

Man United update: Is Wilfried Zaha a done deal? Danny Wellbeck on loan to Reading?

By Stefano on January 9th, 2013

So have United done a deal to sign Crsytal Palace’s tricky winger Wilfried Zaha? The Telegraph seems to think so. The paper believes that other clubs have been frightened off bidding for the player because Fergie has already agreed to sign him

The Telgraoph says

The main issue is when, not if, it will happen with Crystal Palace hoping to keep the £12 million-rated 20-year-old until the summer at least.

Palace are hoping for a deal that would enable the player to stay at the club on loan for the rest of the season.

Zaha was attracting a lot of interest from Premiership clubs a few weeks ago. Arsenal have dropped out of the race because it seem that the club will now re-sign Theo Walcott while Spurs distanced themselves from bidding for Zaha yesterday.

Meanwhile United striker Danny Wellbeck is reported by The Mail as being on the verge of joining Reading on loan. There have been few opportunities for the player at Old Trafford this season and a move to another club might help him re-ignite his United career in the log run.



Football

Man United and Spurs battle to sign Wilfried Zaha

By Stefano on January 6th, 2013

With Arsenal dropping out of the race (possibly because the deal with Theo Walcott is as good as done) Man United and Spurs have been battling it out for the signature of Crystal Palace’s highly promising winger Wilfried Zaha. Spurs were apparently first to contact the club about the winger, but Fergie, a huge fan of the player has been monitoring the progress of the talks.

According to The Mirror
it is Spurs who are in pole position.

Manchester United boss Fergie has now made an official move for the Eagles kid, but Palace supremo Steve Parish is refusing to talk to the Old Trafford giants.

And Ferguson will be furious to discover that Parish will meet Tottenham supremo Levy tomorrow to thrash out Zaha’s future.

The two clubs are already at loggerheads over Spurs’ deal for Ezekiel Fryers.

The Mail reports that Spurs bid for Zaha is around £10 million and part of the deal is that the player would have to be loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season.

Read our top transfer target list here

Pic from Wikipedia



Football

Theo Walcott to sign new Arsenal contract. Wenger ends interest in Zaha, says Talksport

By Stefano on January 2nd, 2013

Talksport has an exclusive, which if proved true, could be one of the hottest transfer stories in January. They believe that Arsene Wenger is about to make his first signing of the window - Theo Walcott.

They say

“Reports have emerged from the Emirates that the former Southampton winger is ready to agree a new deal, having had various requirements met.”

Sky Sports is also reporting that Walcott is in news talks with the club today and that they expect a clear position on his future by the end of the day.

The down side for Arsenal fans is that Talksport also believes that Walcott signing will mean the Gunners cool their interest in Crystal Palace’s precocious star Wilfried Zaha.

The article also suggests that Arsenal remain in the market for other players with David Villa and Arda Turan on Arsene Wenger’s radar.

There have been positive noises coming out of The Emirates about Theo Walcott, so I don’t think many people will be too surprised if he re-signs. Arsenal are also not short of wide players, though they will lose one of them, Gervinho to the Africa Cup Of Nations, so cooling interest in Zaha isn’t too much of a shock. Not buying a winger thought would also rule out Turan. I do wonder if Arsenal’s main deal this winter will turn out to be Adrian Lopez who can play anywhere across the front three.

United are known to be very keen on Zaha, as are Spurs. Ferguson could even let him stay at palace on loan for the rest of the season. Zaha recently stated that he was ready to play Premiership football.

Here’s who else Arsene Wenger is considering signing this winter.



Football

Villa, Sneijder, Zaha and the 10 most wanted players in the transfer window

By Stefano on December 31st, 2012

So, there is just a few hours to go before paper talk can become reality and the winter transfer window opens. This winter expect some serious cash to be flying with Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool desperate to strengthen their squads to keep them in the frame for Champions League qualification, and Man City and Chelsea mulling over big money strikers.

Apparently ‘Arrry has £20 million to spend too.

So here then are the ten most coveted players in the window. I’d be very surprised if at least half of them weren’t wearing new colours come February.

1 Wesley Sneijder

Picture 10 of 10
Picture 10 of 10

Wesley Sneijder's huge wage packet would frighten off almost every Premiership club, except Man City and Chelsea. With Mancini making noises about winter signings I wouldn't be too surprised to see him at The Etihad.




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