Crystal Palace weren’t renowned for being shrewd operators in the transfer market until the previous window, although the club’s hierarchy perhaps don’t get the credit they deserve for one particularly impressive deal.
Back in January 2015, the Eagles secured the return of fans’ favourite Wilfried Zaha from Manchester United on a permanent basis for just £3.42m, only two years after the youngster had moved in the opposite direction for an initial £10m fee.
The skilful winger had impressed after rising through the ranks at his boyhood club, scoring eight goals and providing a further 12 assists in 50 appearances as Palace earned promotion back to the Premier League in his final season at the club.
However, his time at United didn’t go to plan. At Old Trafford, Zaha enjoyed just 28 minutes of top-flight action in his first six months at the club before being loaned out to Cardiff City.
He was then loaned back to Palace for the first half of 2014/15 ahead of his return on a permanent basis, and the Ivory Coast international made no attempt to hide his delight after re-signing for his boyhood club.
“I wasn’t getting much game time at Manchester United, so took the opportunity of coming back on loan this season,” Zaha said at his unveiling. “To now have the chance to make the move permanent and come home to Selhurst Park is something I’m delighted about.
“For me to be a better player, I need to play more games, and having a gaffer I know has great trust in me gives me the confidence I need to help me improve my game. I started playing here when I was eight years of age, and my family live locally, and to have the opportunity to take the field in the Premier League for this club is a dream come true.”
Since then, Zaha has established himself as the Eagles’ talisman, bagging 70 goals and providing a further 73 assists in 401 appearances for the south London outfit across his multiple spells with the club and playing a pivotal part in their nine-year stay in the top-flight.
Zaha’s incredible exploits at Selhurst Park have seen his market value rise to a whopping £40.5m, which shows that Palace chairman Steve Parish struck gold over the Ivorian’s return to the club.