Tottenham Hotspur have missed out on plenty of big names over the last few names, most notably Paulo Dybala and Jack Grealish, but one former Mauricio Pochettino target has just shown why the north Londoners must rue not clinching his signature…
During the 2016 summer transfer window, Spurs lodged a £12m bid for Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha but it was quickly rebuffed by Steve Parish, who dubbed the offer “ridiculous” to talkSPORT, via the Guardian.
It’s not the first time that the Lilywhites have had to opportunity to secure the enigmatic forward after ex-Spurs scout David Webb spotted Zaham, aged just ten, playing for Whitehorse Wanderers in west Croydon.
“I think he scored four or five goals. We invited him in for a six-week trial and for the first five he didn’t play. The coach couldn’t get him to do the sessions properly because he wasn’t used to it. He’s not going to come in and pick up structured training sessions at 10. He won’t understand. What he understands is being on a football pitch. He played against Tottenham’s academy and scored all six goals.”
And then again in 2018, Zaha was hoping that a move to N17 would come to fruition but Spurs balked at the Eagles’ £70m asking price, as per The Times.
During a weekend in which Spurs did not feature – they play Burnley tomorrow night instead – Zaha excelled as Palace’s star man against Fulham, playing a part in both goals in their 2-1 victory.
The 27-year-old slipped in Jairo Riedewald with a sublime through ball within the first eight minutes for the opener before tapping home the easiest of finishes courtesy of Michy Batshuayi picking him out.
Per SofaScore, Zaha duly took home a match-high rating of 8.8 after recording seven dribbles, four key passes and an 82% passing accuracy from 22 attempts.
After the match, Roy Hodgson lauded his talisman, he said: “He reminds us that when he’s on top of his game he’s a very hard player to stop. He’s an excellent player and that’s what he’s capable of doing. He deserves all the praise he’s going to get.”
Back in 2016, Parish revealed that Pochettino thought the Ivorian international could be the “next [Cristiano] Ronaldo” – speaking to talkSPORT, via the Guardian, he added: “I was told that the manager there [at Tottenham] thinks he’s the next Ronaldo. Well, I’d like to get the next Ronaldo for £12m.”
It remains to be seen how much it would’ve taken to snag him from their London rivals, but with his value shooting up to £70m as recently as the 2019 summer window, Daniel Levy must rue not pulling out all the stops to land him, especially in a time before the arrivals of Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn and obviously, Gareth Bale.
Zaha has bagged five goals in six league games already this season, averaging 2.5 shots, 1.7 dribbles and 1.5 key passes per game, via WhoScored, could you imagine his one goal every 108 minutes ratio in this current Spurs team? He’d be electrifying.
He could’ve left the Eagles for £30m in the window just gone, so there’s surely no chance of picking him up that cheap again now.
Levy should have listened to Pochettino instead of wearing his usual tough-negotiator hat. To miss out on the “next Ronaldo” is simply inexcusable.
AND in other news, Released by Redknapp, ex-Spurs graduate is now worth a WHOPPING £90m…