Dan Cook has claimed that Crystal Palace’s lack of financial muscle will ultimately see them lose Wilfried Zaha.
The Ivory Coast international has long been tipped with an exit from Selhurst Park as his current deal edges closer to expiring – and can in fact start talking to clubs outside of England about a pre-contract agreement in January.
It will be a sad way for things to end between Zaha and Palace for the second time during his career, as many may have hoped that he’d finish his career at Selhurst Park, but the lure of playing in Europe and earning more money could be too much to ignore.
After discussing potential future transfer dealings in SE25 following links with Brazilian youngster Matheus Franca, Cook has admitted on the HLTCO podcast that it’s now inevitable that Zaha will be leaving Palace next year.
He said: “The other elephant in the room is, of course, Wilfried Zaha’s long-term future. And I think it’s becoming plainly obvious at this stage that the 30-year-old will look to leave Crystal Palace once his contract expires at the end of the 2022/23 campaign.
Should Palace sell Zaha in January?
“We haven’t got the financial muscle to bring in a player from one of Europe’s top leagues that can replicate what Wilfried Zaha brings to us, but I think in Matheus Franca… there’s clearly a lot of hype around him for good reason.
“In 2022, I think it makes a great deal of sense to explore that market and see whether or not there is a potential deal to be done.”
TIF Thoughts on Zaha’s future…
Once reports emerged earlier in the year about Zaha turning down a bumper contract at Crystal Palace, it should have been quite clear to the fans that he was not intent on staying with the Eagles past his current deal.
However, as that continues to draw closer, the feeling of Crystal Palace being without their talisman and constant presence in Zaha will be a daunting one as he’s been their top scorer in each of the last two league campaigns and will therefore leave a huge void.
If he doesn’t want to stay and can’t be persuaded, there’s no point trying to force him to do so and potentially break their wage structure in the process. Instead, they should back their recruitment team, which has done well to land top players over the last few windows, to do their job and find a suitable replacement for the Ivorian.