Wilfried Zaha is a player that divides opinions constantly. Whilst one side argues for his elegant style of play and talent, the other side is not convinced by his consistency and overall effectiveness.
Whichever side is right, there’s no doubt that many clubs will be interested in signing the English-born player. Especially now that it’s all but confirmed that Zaha is exiting Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson let the world know on Sunday that the winger is “set on leaving.”
The gaffer also added that the recent speculation has affected the tricky forward a lot. Hodgson also made it clear that it’s within his interest to keep one of his best players, but it may not completely be in his control anymore.
And with the Ivorian’s stay looking very unlikely at Palace, he looks set to earn that move he’s been pushing for quite some time now. So let’s explore three clubs he could flourish at.
Signing for Arsenal would be an absolute marriage made in heaven for the forward. The Ivory Coast international is admittedly a huge Arsenal supporter. And with the Gunners having already registered interest in him during previous transfer windows, we already know they are potential suitors.
The Londoners have been deploying Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a left-winger due to their lack of players who can fill that position. Bukayo Saka is an exceptional player, but he cannot be relied on week-in and week-out given his age and inexperience at the top level.
Zaha could easily fill that role, allowing Aubameyang to play centrally – where he prefers.
As a club looking for immediate fixes, an experienced Premier League proven player like him would suit the North Londoners well.
However, since Mikel Arteta took charge at the Emirates, he’s made it clear that he does not see the Gabon international as a centre-forward. The Spaniard has insisted on playing the former Dortmund man out wide.
This may cause the Palace star to be overlooked by Arteta.
Everton are a prime example of a club underperforming due to questionable signings.
The Merseyside outfit’s recent offensive acquisitions have been rather dull. Moise Kean, Alex Iwobi, and Theo Walcott were all purchased in excess of €27 million but none of them have managed to contribute to anything significant.
The trio have combined managed a meager 13 goal contribution in all competitions this season.
With Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin being the only reliable forwards, Zaha would be an exceptional addition to Carlo Ancelotti’s project. His versatility would allow him to play across all forward positions. But most importantly as a right-winger, he could boost Everton’s front-three alongside Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin.
Moreover, should any of the Toffees’ attackers get injured, the 27-year-old’s versatility can cover it up in reliable fashion.
Newcastle United are in a very similar position to Everton where their attacking signings have failed to reach expectations.
Miguel Almiron had been signed as a replacement to Ayoze Perez who left for Leicester City. But the South American did not turn out to be the young attacking prospect the Magpies had hoped for.
On the other hand, Newcastle had managed to get their hands on Bundesliga prospect Joelinton, but he is yet to impress anyone. The Brazilian has failed to adapt to English football and looks out of place.
This is where the Ivorian would add his services to aid Newcastle. Zaha can play at the two positions the St James’ Park outfit need to address: he can either slot in as a centre-forward in order to replace Joelinton or Andy Carroll, or he could occupy the opposite side of Allan Saint-Maxim.
Especially, with the contracts of Carroll and Jacob Murphy expiring in less than a year, this would be a smart signing.
Zaha is far from a perfect player. His inconsistency is often overshadowed by his flashy style of play, something fans have often been deceived by.
He often lacks deep metrics such as expected stats and is often outperformed by very humble players in those departments.
However, that is not to say he’s not a talented player. He is up there with one of the best dribblers in the league and is an elegant player to watch. There are many top clubs that could do with a player like him, but it’s very unlikely that he manages to land the “big” move he dreams of.