Spurs and Crystal Palace both want Wilfired Zaha on the cheap
Palace chairman Steve Parish says the offer is “ridiculous”.
The Mirror says Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke “admits he is desperate” for Zaha to remain at Palace. He is? What he said was: “I came to Palace because of the way that they play. Everyone knows Wilf’s ability on the ball and he helped us a lot when he came on. Of course we’d like him to stay. I’ve tried to convince him to stay, but that’s football.”
So not desperate, then, just answering a journalist’s question about a teammate and answering with no little diplomacy. Or as the Mail puts puts in hyperbolic terms: “Christian Benteke pleads with Wilfried Zaha to stay.”
Over in the Telegraph readers get “The curious case of Wilfried Zaha and a very weird transfer window”. We learn that Spurs manger “Mauricio Pochettino considers Zaha to have the potential of a Cristiano Ronaldo”.
Sam Wallace says Spurs are doing what Spurs do:
It should be said that his Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, wants to pay a Ronaldo-sized fee – although the fee in question is not the record-breaking £80 million Real Madrid paid in 2009. Rather it was the £12.25 million Manchester United paid Sporting Lisbon for the 18-year-old Ronaldo in 2003.
Was it just Levy doing what Levy does so well? That being, antagonising the competition with derisory bids for their best players while simultaneously demanding top dollar for Spurs’ own collection of waifs and strays? The early signs would suggest so.
So Levy wants a “bargain”. Don’t all clubs want that? Well, not Manchester United, obviously, who paid well over the odds for Paul Pogba. Wallace says if Levy were “serious” he’d start the bidding at £30m.
Maybe it’s all just a way for Zaha to get a fat raise?
Certainly Zaha, on around £40,000-a-week already, will get a new contract out of this wrangle, despite having four years left on his existing deal, which he signed last year when his move back from Manchester United was made permanent. Palace are one of many clubs who are now paying new signings such as Andros Townsend the kind of wages that they have never paid before, and if one talented, erratic winger can earn big money, then it is only a matter of time before the other talented, erratic winger wants the same.
Fair point. When Jamie Vardy’s agent offered his client to Arsenal, the Leicester City striker ended up getting a pay rise to stay at Leicester.
Andros Townsend’s wages at Palace are close to £80,000 a week.
Are Palace getting Zaha on the cheap?
Palace manager Alan Pardew is quoted in the Guardian:
“I’ll try and be as fair and honest as I can be with Wilf and try and take his game forward. I’ve worked so hard with him this year. I’ve probably spent more time with Wilf and [Yannick] Bolasie than with any other player at the training ground, and I’d like to think there’s been an improvement in both. One I’ve lost [to Everton]. I don’t intend to lose the other one, and the chairman’s feelings have obviously enhanced that.”
In September 2015, Bolasie signed a new deal at Palace that saw his wages double from around £20,000 a week to £40,000. At Everton he earns around £80,000-a-week, and very probably secured a percent of the signing-on fee.
“At the end of the day, sport is a business, and there are business decisions to be made. But I’ve been at other clubs where the business sometimes comes first. Here I generally feel we try and do it the right way, and we’re trying to help Wilf to become a better player. We think his ambitions to play for England can be realised here, and there’s no reason why that can’t happen.”
Pardew can’t guarantee that Zaha will get better, but Palace can guarantee one of their best players more money in an inflated market.