Palace manager’s verdict on Wilfried Zaha’s future – and whether European switch awaits

BY SAM SMITH

Roy Hodgson believes it is unlikely that Wilfried Zaha will depart Crystal Palace to a European club this month.

The summer transfer window in several other nations – including Germany and Spain where Zaha has been linked with moves – remains open until the end of August. But the Eagles boss feels it is far more probable that the winger will end up at an English club during a future window. 

When asked if he foresaw the 26-year-old leaving the South Londoners either in the remainder of this window or in January, Hodgson said: “I cross bridges when I come to them. 

“There is no point worrying about possible scenarios. I have no idea if that will happen. 

“There is much more chance that he will go to a club in England rather than a club in Europe. 

“He’s so good that all the top clubs know how good he is and they are capable of paying the transfer fees when push comes to shove. I’m not sure all the European ones can. January is a long, long way off.”

The Eagles received bids for their prized asset from Arsenal and Everton during the summer, but neither Premier League rival met the £80million value that Palace expected. 

And Hodgson admitted that it has affected his planning: “We have been inconvenienced by clubs bidding but not reaching an agreement for the price that the club wants. 

“That’s not exactly been helpful to myself, the coaching staff and the players. We’re over that period and we’re happy to be over it, but if it arises again in January we will deal with it like we have done this time.”

The 72-year-old confirmed that Zaha is in his plans for the opening Premier League game against Everton tomorrow, despite not featuring in any pre-season games due to returning late from the Africa Cup of Nations. 

There was some suggestion on social media that the Ivorian will received a mixed reaction from Palace fans due to him handing in a transfer request 24 hours prior to Thursday’s transfer deadline, but Hodgson has urged the Selhurst Park faithful to encourage Zaha. 

He said: “You can’t control fans’ reactions. The fans will obviously react in the way they feel and the way they should react. I hope they won’t get on Wilf’s back. 

“I hope they will help him to produce the performances for the team. It would be nice if our fans can draw a line under it.”

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