This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
Speaking to The Daily Mail, Crystal Palace chairman Simon Parish has admitted Wilfried Zaha “deserves” to play for a top club.
The Ivory Coast international was the subject of intense transfer speculation over the course of the summer window, amid reports claiming the likes of Arsenal and Everton were interested in signing him.
However, despite suggestions he had submitted a transfer request, no move materialised by the end of deadline day.
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Now, Parish has admitted he will open the door for Zaha to leave for a top club, and insisted he could envisage a “happy ending for everybody”.
He said: “I have watched him every week for 10 years, he scored the first goal in the first game after we bought the club when he was 16. So there is even a bit of me that wants to see what he can do at a top club, and I certainly would not want to be the person who stopped that.
“I feel he deserves to get there, I hope it happens and sometimes it mystifies me he’s not up there already. We are lucky to have him. But if that top club comes along and the money is right, he is an extraordinary talent and it is going to be very difficult for us.
“I’m sure it has a happy ending for everybody. That’s what I want to generate and I’m sure we’ll make that happen.”
The annual Zaha transfer saga has continued to dominate headlines every summer, and yet he still remains at Selhurst Park. The Ivorian spoke last season about wanting to play at the highest level and testing himself on the biggest stage.
But then it seemed like he would have been happy to settle for Europa League football with his boyhood club Arsenal. And then when that proposed move fell through, reports suggested he would be content with a move to Everton. Talk about shifting the benchmark.
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At 26 years old, Zaha is approaching the peak years of his career, and this summer felt like an opportune time to leave. Palace’s demands on ensuring they got the best possible deal for the club meant Parish’s idea of a “happy ending” failed to come to fruition.