Football Whispers are claiming that Liverpool are interested in Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha.
— Football Whispers (@FB_WHISPERS) December 21, 2016
With the winter window fast approaching, Liverpool are known to be on the lookout for wide attacking players as Sadio Mane gears up to represent Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations – and Zaha is a target. Football Whispers claim that the Merseyside club are willing to sanction a ‘big money’ offer for the Eagles ace, who has wowed scouts sent from the North West to watch him in recent times.
Liverpool fans are likely to be reacting in a variety of ways to this link, but we think there’s a degree of logic to a potential move for Zaha. The massive issue facing the Anfield club over the coming few weeks is Mane’s looming exit. The summer signing could be away from just after the trip to Sunderland on January 2 right up to the AFCON final, which is due to take place on February 5. Interestingly, the group stages of the tournament are set to run until January 23, so Jurgen Klopp will not be getting his man back quickly, especially with Senegal counted among the favourites to lift the trophy.
And he will be missed. Mane’s late winner in the Merseyside Derby on Monday night was his eighth league goal of the season, making him the Reds’ top scorer in the competition. But it’s not just goals that the 24-year-old brings, with the pace supplied by the former Red Bull Salzburg ace having given Klopp’s attack a new dynamic and helped them to net a division-highest 41 goals in 17 matches.
The Liverpool Echo have already suggested that Quincy Promes of Spartak Moscow is a target and with Zaha a similar style of player to the Dutchman (and Mane) in terms of pace and is direct nature, he seems to fit the mould of winger/forward being looked at.
Zaha himself has been in excellent form this term. Granted, he hasn’t been as free-scoring as Mane, but his 70 completed take-ons is the second-highest return of any player in the Premier League (after Eden Hazard’s 71), while six assists somewhat prove that he’s growing as a player after initially being thought of as a direct winger with no end product.
Football Whispers claim that Liverpool are ready to pay ‘big money’, and it seems that that equates to over £20m, given that the Eagles rejected an approach worth that from Spurs over the summer. With young, British players’ prices inflated, it’s hard to see any offer of below £30m being welcomed with open arms at Selhurst Park unless Zaha himself agitates to move, which is entirely feasible given that the south London club are falling towards the relegation zone.
Interestingly, Liverpool ended the last transfer window with a positive net spend after shipping out a host of fringe players – including Christian Benteke to Palace for around £30m – and with a title charge very much on the agenda, Klopp is likely to be backed with funds if he’s certain a player is right for his system.