Transfer Focus

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is ‘an admirer’ of Palace star Wilfried Zaha

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Arsenal are understood to be amongst a host of top European outfits circling for Wilfried Zaha’s signature, who has entered the final year of his deal at Crystal Palace and is in a ‘contract standoff’ with the club.

The Lowdown: Intense interest

Speculation over the future of the iconic Eagles forward has been rife for several years, and he now reportedly feels the time is right to seek new pastures after a resounding start to the campaign. 

Zaha, a club legend at Selhurst Park, has devoted the majority of his career to the club, rising through the youth ranks and rejoining the outfit following a stint at Manchester United from 2013 to 2015. 

A guileful figure and a wizard with his feet, Zaha has notched up his proficiency over recent campaigns, respectively scoring 11 and 14 league goals across the past two seasons – the two highest returns of his career.

And he’s started the current term with aplomb, netting five times and providing one assist in ten outings, with sights now set on European nights after years of servitude in south London. 

The Latest: Arteta an admirer

With speculation mounting, 90min reports that Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is ‘an admirer’ of Zaha’s skillset, and views a deal as financially plausible with such little time left on the player’s current contract. 

However, the north London giants are not the only club vying for his name, with 90min also reporting in August that Chelsea attempted to forge a deal in the summer, which didn’t materialise, though the Blues remain interested.

The Palace hierarchy will certainly be weighing up their options and could look to cash in on the player before his likely departure. That said, the 29-year-old maestro remains an integral squad member under Gunners legend Patrick Vieira, and could prove the difference between security and a relegation scrap as the season progresses.

The Verdict: Make the deal

Arteta is reportedly looking to strengthen his squad in January, and provide offensive reinforcements to avoid burnout after such exemplary groundwork thus far. 

Zaha, who Viera once labelled “a fighter”, would undoubtedly prove a shrewd purchase.

With his contract shortly concluding, the financial aspect of the deal would suit the Gunners, who could turn their focus onto other positions after spending nearly £119m on signings in the summer. 

On top of his recent clinical touch, Zaha ranks in the top 12% for dribbles completed against wingers and attacking midfielders across Europe’s big five leagues over the past year, as per FBref

The £130k-per-week deft dribbler is also a player Arsenal know well, having attempted to sign the winger in 2019, with prior knowledge of his multi-faceted toolkit on the pitch, and now might be the time to bring him from south-east London to the north side of the capital. 

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