Chelsea have no hope of signing Christian Benteke – and Crystal Palace will show “tenacity” if interest arrives for Wilfried Zaha

By Anthony Scales

Newspaper talk about clubs targeting Crystal Palace star man Wilfried Zaha are like water off a duck’s back to Eagles boss Roy Hodgson, who has seen it all before after 55 years in the game.

“I don’t know who he’s been linked with,” said Hodgson when asked about the ongoing speculation about Zaha, following recent comments from his predecessor as palace boss Frank de Boer.

“Do you mean to say a manager comes out who’s worked with [Zaha] for four games and says ‘I think he’s a very good player who can go and play at a top club’ and all of a sudden he’s linked with them?

“I’ve got no idea what Liverpool or any other club think. We do, of course, realise we’ve got a prized asset on our hands and the day might come when someone comes and tries to steal him from us. But that could be a long way off and Wilf has shown no desire to leave the club.

“We certainly are not going to let him go and we’ll cling onto him for as long as we can and with as much tenacity as we can.

“The speculation really is purely that, to keep people maybe reading newspapers and tuning in to the TV. I get it all the time myself with players, I’m asked ‘do you think he’s a good player’ and I say ‘yes, I think he’s a great player’ and the next thing you know it’s: ‘Jack Wilshere’s coming to Crystal Palace’!”

And Hodgson gave short shrift to the idea Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s sudden urge for a target man could see his gaze turn to Palace forward Christian Benteke.

“Not that I know of, but you know more than me,” replied Hodgson when asked about the latest rumour. “He will stay whether they’ve got an interest or not.”

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