Crystal Palace have many players who are set to be out of contract next summer with 11 players’ futures hanging in the balance at Selhurst Park, and there is one player in particular that has had a lot of speculation surrounding his next steps.
Wilfried Zaha will be out of contract in June 2023 after seven solid years of service occupying a spot in the forward line in south London, scoring 87 goals and delivering 73 assists over 435 appearances. As a result, there is no doubt that his boots will be incredibly hard to fill in the team if he does decide to leave at the end of the season.
Arsenal and Chelsea were reportedly interested in the winger over the summer and with four goals in five appearances already for Palace this term, interest will surely be shown again in the upcoming transfer window if he continues to be a standout performer in the team.
Consequently, Patrick Vieira will surely already be working on identifying the perfect replacement for the Eagles’ goal machine over the coming months, but what if he already has his next version of Zaha rising through the ranks of the academy and thriving on loan?
Scott Banks joined west Yorkshire club Bradford City on loan this summer where he has delivered two goals and two assists already over nine appearances, but it’s not just his most recent goal contributions that prove he should be in for a chance to steal Zaha’s spot in the team if he departs.
Like the Ivorian, the talented young winger is a natural in the penalty area, scoring 17 goals and supplying 15 assists over his career so far with a goal contribution every 139 minutes of game time, and most of those have come from his time in the Crystal Palace U21s team.
Clearly a nightmare for opposition defences, it was back in 2020 that he first showed shades of the effervescent Zaha as a piece of play on loan at Alloa shows him dancing through Inverness CT players with absolute ease, with Palace podcast HLTCO suggesting he was taking “liberties” with the defenders.
Crucially, Banks has experience in a number of roles with most of his experience coming from the right wing, but has also been known to be used in an advanced attacking midfield role and the right midfield too.
Vieira is already a huge admirer of the 21-year-old dynamo, lavishing praise on the young player hailing him when the forward was selected to feature in pre-season last summer for the London club. He commented:
“His work was really good, but he’s somebody who technically can play at that level. He’s really smart, always finding the right position to allow himself to go forward.”
With that being said, the future is looking bright for Banks at Selhurst Park and he now has the opportunity at Bradford to prove his worth to Vieira before Zaha’s future is decided over the next few months.