After another season of Premier League survival, Crystal Palace will be seeing this summer as an opportunity to build upon the success of the previous campaign, but their biggest goal over the next few months will be trying to keep hold of Wilfried Zaha.
The Ivorian international has made it publicly clear via the Daily Mail that he is ready for a step-up in his career and sees himself ready to play for a Champions League side, though at the reported price of £100m Palace are asking for their star man, he could find it difficult to secure his dream move in this transfer window.
The winger has been an essential cog for Palace since their return to the Premier League, but who out of their current squad will miss the former Manchester United man the most if he does end up leaving? Here’s a look at the current Palace stars who directly benefit the most from Zaha’s presence through goals and assists, either setting him up or converting the chances he creates…
Luka Milivojevic – 8 goal contributions
Zaha bursts through into the penalty area, wins a penalty, Luka Milivojevic scores from the spot. Rinse and repeat, and there you have it, an absolutely lethal combo that Palace will surely miss should their talisman depart.
The winger’s reputation as the most fouled player in the Premier League has been hugely beneficial for Palace’s Serbian midfielder, who has often netted from the penalty spot thanks to Zaha’s ability to draw fouls in the area.
Christian Benteke – 7 goal contributions
Christian Benteke’s time at Crystal Palace has been underwhelming, to say the least, but his relationship with Zaha on the pitch has been an important one that has benefited both players.
The duo combined to beat Chelsea in the 2016/17 season in a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge as well as contribute to Arsenal’s 3-2 defeat at the tail-end of last season, a result that played its part in the Gunners’ failure to qualify for the Champions League for a third successive term.
Check out what the Pl>ymaker FC squad got up to at the Football Blogging Awards in the video below…
Andros Townsend – 6 goal contributions
Sticking with Arsenal, Zaha and Andros Townsend have a good record together when it comes to playing against their London rivals. The duo combined in both a 3-0 win and 3-2 defeat in the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons respectively.
The two wingers also linked up in Palace’s final two games of last season which saw Roy Hodgson’s side claim six points from six against Cardiff City and Bournemouth.
James McArthur – 5 goal contributions
James McArthur might be one of the last players you think of when it comes to the players Zaha has combined with the most on the pitch for the Eagles, but the former Scotland midfielder’s connection with the Palace star is real.
It took two full seasons before the duo linked up when Zaha assisted McArthur in a 4-2 loss against Liverpool, and it took another year before the Palace men combined again when the two players both scored and assisted off one another in a 5-0 win against Leicester City.
Patrick van Aanholt – 5 goal contributions
Looking on the surface, you can be mistaken for thinking it is Patrick van Aanholt that has assisted Zaha five times, but in fact, the Dutch full-back has scored four times thanks to the Palace winger.
The duo first combined in a 2-1 loss to Chelsea in the 2017/18 season but have since then managed to form a solid connection with one another. Van Aanholt has the least number of games with Zaha of anyone on this list, but the Dutchman would still clearly miss the services of the Palace superstar based on the above.