Journalist and transfer insider Dean Jones believes already having exciting wingers Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise in their ranks will lessen Crystal Palace’s need to immediately replace Wilfried Zaha should he leave the club this summer.
Eagles captain Zaha has not featured since he picked up a groin injury in Roy Hodgson’s first match back in charge at Selhurst Park – a 2-1 victory over Leicester City.
In the two games since, Palace have demolished Leeds United 5-1 and secured a valuable 2-0 victory away at Southampton.
Other attacking threats have flourished in Zaha’s absence across these two games with Eze scoring three goals and Olise registering three assists.
The wins under Hodgson have guided Palace to the verge of Premier League safety after they sat perilously close to the relegation zone when Patrick Viera was sacked.
Crystal Palace transfer news – Wilfried Zaha
Palace captain Zaha is out of contract at the end of the season and has been continually linked with a move away from Selhurst Park.
Despite reportedly turning down a £9m-per-year contract with Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad, Zaha is keen to continue testing himself in one of Europe’s top leagues – with French giants Marseille the latest club showing interest.
From their side, the Daily Mail have suggested that Palace have offered the £130k-per-week man the most lucrative contract in the club’s history in an attempt to persuade him to remain in South London for the final years of his career.
The 30-year-old joined the Eagles as a 12-year-old in 2004 and has made over 450 appearances for the club across two spells.
What has Dean Jones said about Zaha’s situation at Crystal Palace?
Speaking in an interview with This is Futbol, Jones stated his belief that, should Zaha leave Palace, the form of Olise and Eze would lessen the desperation to replace him.
On Olise and Eze, the reliable journalist said:
“The one thing I would say is that, fortunately for Palace, [is] they already have Eze and Olise. They kind of fill that Zaha role in terms of being inspirational. And so it’s not as desperate a need as it normally would be to replace somebody like him.”
Why could Eze and Olise step up in Zaha’s place?
Zaha is widely considered to be Palace’s greatest-ever player and has been described as “unstoppable” by Ally McCoist.
Replacing his impact and status in the side will always be difficult but the freedom with which Olise and Eze have been playing since Hodgson’s arrival have shown Palace fans that a future without Zaha may not be as terrible as it first appears.
With Eze 24 and Olise 21, the potential for them to grow and develop into talismans for the club is there and, although trying to find one man to be the successor to Zaha might be a thankless task, these two young stars together could just do it.