This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Arsenal. Chelsea. Everton.
These are the three clubs who are looking most serious about taking Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha on board this summer, as the deadline gets closer by the day.
The Eagles have held firm amidst the transfer saga, standing strong on their £80m valuation of the forward amid offers of £40m and £55m + Reiss Nelson on loan from the Gunners, but there is only one place Palace should be sending Zaha if they absolutely have to sell him.
Incidentally, the Gunners now look to have turned their attentions elsewhere after agreeing an €80m (£72m) deal with Lille over the transfer of Zaha’s Ivory Coast international teammate Nicolas Pepe, so let’s assume they’re out of the equation.
Everton are reportedly set to lodge an offer of £60m + Cenk Tosun for the 26-year-old, and whilst that may tempt Palace, Chelsea are the only ones who a deal should be agreed with.
Firstly, the Blues received an initial £89m for the sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, a deal potentially worth over £150m.
They have also banked £58m from Alvaro Morata’s move to Atletico Madrid.
From sales alone, Chelsea should have no problem handing Palace their £80m valuation of Zaha instead of haggling for player-plus-cash deals – and that is one reason why the Eagles should sell to the Blues.
Another is the fact that Chelsea can actually offer the Ivory Coast international Champions League football, which is what Zaha is said to want desperately. He previously told the Daily Mail: “I have to experience the Champions League.”
In the video below, find out which Chelsea academy prospect is reportedly being lined up to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Crystal Palace…
You may argue that there isn’t much in that to concern Palace, but after everything has given the club they should give him the best possible chance of realising his European dreams.
Additionally, Palace should sell to Chelsea due to the relationship that has already been established with Frank Lampard’s side.
The Eagles were handed Michy Batshuayi on loan ahead of the likes of Tottenham and West Ham back in January for a fee close to £1m, whilst Spurs were quoted £8m and the Hammers £4m.
That deal may well have arrived due to the positive relationship developed between Palace and Chelsea following the successful loan of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and the south Londoners would be wise to keep things sweet with their fellow capital city side to facilitate future business. Even this summer, for example, Reece James and Batshuayi are said to be on the Eagles’ radar.
Finally, the Blues are currently under a transfer ban and will be unable to register Zaha until the summer of 2020.
This would mean a pre-agreement could be struck between the two clubs, and Palace get to keep their talisman for one more year – allowing for ample time to scout and sign a worthy replacement – before he makes a move to Stamford Bridge.
Selling to Chelsea makes perfect sense for Palace.