Crystal Palace have had many players come and go since establishing themselves as a Premier League team after returning to the top flight in 2013 and despite their few potential relegation concerns, have maintained their status comfortably for the majority.
Although the club has signed up five managers to the club’s project over their last ten seasons in the top tier and with many players coming and going there has been one constant who has been a huge contributor to Palace’s success over the last seven years.
Crystal Palace’s youth academy graduate Wilfried Zaha has been the linchpin in the team that has kept the club ticking over in the Premier League through every manager, player and situation the team has been through.
Despite making his start at Selhurst Park, Zaha was sold on to Manchester United back in 2013 for a huge fee at the time of £15m but after two years with the Red Devils, Palace were given the chance to re-sign their youth prodigy for just £3m and 69 goals later it was one of the best transfer decisions the club has ever made.
Tallying up a total of 455 appearances and 160 goal contributions with a goal or assist every 218 minutes for the Eagles in his two spells, the 29-year-old sensation has proved to be worth his weight in gold and this season already has continued to display just how important he is to the team.
The Ivory Coast international is the third highest ranking player (7.10) in the squad over his five appearances so far, and it’s not hard to see why when you consider the attacking threat he has offered.
Zaha has scored four times and created one big chance, made 1.4 key passes, 1.6 tackles and won an impressive 7.4 duels per game, as well as producing 1.6 shots on target per game. Impressively, he ranks fourth in the Premier League for non-penalty goals this season too.
The impressive goal machine who was hailed a “special talent” by Patrick Vieira has not seen his performances for Palace go unnoticed by other clubs in the top tier, with both Chelsea and Arsenal reportedly interested in snapping up the winger late into the summer transfer window.
Unfortunately for the French manager, the club’s talisman will be out of contract in less than 12 months and as a result, Zaha will be free to speak to foreign clubs about a potential move away from Selhurst Park in January.
However, it has been reported that Palace are willing to do whatever it takes to keep hold of their forward, offering him a new contract earlier this month. Indeed, there is no doubt that Vieira will be desperately hoping that the club and Zaha can come to some agreement to secure his future as he is clearly an irreplaceable asset in the team.