BY ROB SUTHERLAND
Roy Hodgson wasn’t concerned about the possibility of Wilfried Zaha leaving Crystal Palace in the January transfer window, after the winger put in an impressive performance against Sheffield United on Saturday.
Zaha, who was hailed by Blades boss Chris Wilder as the best winger in the league, had been subject to significant speculation during the summer window – but that interest wasn’t as forthcoming in January.
Hodgson said: “I’ve not been that worried in this transfer window that we’d be beleaguered by people wanting to take him.
“I’ve not had the fear that someone’s in there and making offer after offer, but of course until that bell rings at 11 o’clock, something could always happen. We’ve seen plenty of last-minute transfers.
“But it’s not something that’s really bothered me during the transfer window because I’ve always believed that Wilf would stay with us during the rest of this season, and then when the summer comes maybe the circus will start again and I’ll be getting questions all the time about him.”
Hodgson had hoped to make at least two signings during the transfer window, and for a long time it had looked as though West Brom’s highly rated full-back Nathan Ferguson would be that man, only for the move to collapse due to concerns about an ongoing knee injury.
Palace were also linked with a move for Hull City’s Jarrod Bowen, a player Hodgson says there was initial interest in, but only on loan with an option to buy.
“There was a discussion that Hull might consider loaning him for a period of time with an option to buy, and that interested us. But there was never any question that we would go in and buy him outright.
“So when West Ham went in and bought him outright, that’s something they’re entitled to do but that’s not something we would consider doing.”
Palace’s recruitment has been a concern in recent months and the need for signings is clear to Hodgson, too.
“I think the club is aware of our situation. Signing players is not an easy thing to do. Going out and paying a lot of money isn’t an easy thing to do and we’ve got lots and lots of examples of it.
“We know that we need to make more inroads into improving and rejuvenating our squad and bringing in some fresh faces, because an awful lot of the faces I still work with every day were here when I came to the club and I inherited them.”
Hodgson says there will need to be discussions to determine exactly how the club will do that in the summer.
“Everyone is on the same page as far as that’s concerned. And I think now that Steve Parish, Doug Freedman and the American owners are going to have to do a lot of thinking, beside myself and the coaching staff, as to what the best way forward is in the next transfer window.
“About what we’re going to be able to do to try to ensure this team gets stronger, to try to ensure that if we stay up this year – because we’ve still got a lot to do, to do that – we’ll go into next year with a bit more power and a bit more grease to our elbow.”