BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Former Crystal Palace goalkeeper Nigel Martyn has questioned whether it was the right call by the club to block Wilfried Zaha leaving.
Arsenal and Everton were both interested in the Eagles’ star attacker, who submitted a transfer request just before transfer deadline.
But Palace were not prepared to let their prize asset go, having already sold right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United for a deal in the region of £50million.
Arsenal spent their money on Lille’s Nicolas Pepe in the end. It also appeared that Everton only made one offer for Zaha, despite reports claiming they had made an increased offer as the clock ticked down.
But Martyn feels that the Eagles stance could have been a mistake. He told 888sport: “If a player wants to go enough and is desperate enough to leave then it’s possibly not in your best interests to try and keep him – because you then have a player who doesn’t want to be there.
“Not that Wilf wants to let the club down in any way. He loves Crystal Palace. He just wants a chance to further his career and potentially go to a bigger club like Arsenal. That’s the type of club he needs to move to. He needs a club that is challenging for the Champions League – because that’s the standard that he’s at.
“I don’t see him lying down and not trying though. He doesn’t strike me as that type of person. He cares enough about his own club and will give his all until he moves on.”
There are concerns it could be a season of struggle for the Eagles, who followed up a stalemate with the Toffees at Selhurst Park with a 1-0 defeat at Premier League new boys Sheffield United on Sunday.
Martyn said: “It’s really difficult because you have the teams coming up and straight away they’re labelled as favourites to go back down. But over the past couple of years they seem to be coming up stronger from the Championship and if they get a foothold in the Premier League they stay there.
“There are probably 10 teams that will fight it out and Palace have to be careful not to be one of those. Hopefully if Wilf can repeat his form from last year that should keep Palace outside of that.
“They’ve had a draw then a tough game at Sheffield United so that’s not the start they would have been looking for. They have to bounce back pretty quickly otherwise they will get embroiled in it.”
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