Wilfried Zaha’s already shown how instrumental he’ll be to Crystal Palace’s survival hopes this season, returning from injury to net a huge winner against reigning champions Chelsea before bagging a last-second equaliser in a 1-1 draw with West Ham – providing the Eagles with all four of the points they’ve won so far under Roy Hodgson.
Perhaps inevitably then, the Ivory Coast international is already being linked with a move away from Selhurst Park, The Sun claiming Arsenal are eyeing a £35million swoop as they look to replace Alexis Sanchez either in January or at the end of the season.
The obvious gulf between the two wide men lays in their potency. While Sanchez has scored 54 goals in the Premier League, averaging just shy of one every two appearances, Zaha has mustered up just 38 (including international goals) throughout his entire career.
But there’s another side to Zaha’s game that often slips under the radar, and could make him such an invaluable addition for Arsenal compared to their current attacking cohort. It’s no secret Arsenal struggle to match the rest of the top six in terms of physicality, energy and aggression, especially from forward players like Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette.
Zaha, though, is exceptionally quick and strong and produced the third-most tackles, 56, of any wide man in the Premier League last season – he’s tried to keep that rate up this season too, with five successful challenges in as many appearances.
Winning the ball from the front is often infectious throughout the team and having someone like Zaha closing down the opposition could transform the mindset of an Arsenal side often accused of shirking their responsibilities off the ball. More than individual ability, that change in perspective could be what truly awakens the Gunners from their current dormancy.
So, Arsenal fans, should Wenger swoop for the seven-cap international in January? Let us know by voting below…