The Sun reports that Wilfried Zaha, due to his desire to play for Spurs, has rejected a new Crystal Palace deal, one that would prospectively swell his salary to about £100,000 a week.
It’s a pretty enticing offer but Zaha has grand designs, plans that don’t merely boil down to receiving a hefty pay rise. His sights are set on playing in the Champions League for a title contender.
Although he’ll invariably get a mammoth pay rise no matter where he lands.
Zaha isn’t reserved in making his discontent known at Palace, saying he’s undervalued at the current club. The Palace striker is certainly not short on confidence but he does have a point.
Zaha is on about £35,000 per week, a number dwarfed by the six-figure salary teammate Christian Benteke is earning.
There is no doubting Zaha’s impressive skill set. The Ivorian-English striker, on his day, causes fits for the most experienced and decorated defenders.
Zaha, who snubbed England, citing a lack of first-team opportunities, pledged international allegiance to the Ivory Coast earlier this season. Despite Gareth Southgate’s futile attempts to persuade the 24-year-old to commit to the Three Lions, Zaha decided the Ivory Coast, his place of birth, was where he wanted to play internationally.
But that’s another story entirely.
The main exploratory question is whether Zaha would seamlessly fit into the current Tottenham landscape.
In short, the answer is yes.
Pochettino is chomping at the bit to make amends for the failed Vincent Janssen signing. In all fairness to the boss, he had every right to presume the Dutchman would flourish in north London.
Such is football.
How would Zaha look in Spurs colours?
So, how would Zaha look donning a Tottenham shirt?
Pretty damn good, I reckon.
Zaha would complement Harry Kane perfectly, assuming Pochettino would experiment with playing the two in tandem up front.
A proposition too exciting not to at least try, Zaha – with his breakneck pace – would invariably play in a slightly more advanced role, running off the shoulder of defenders. That would open space for Kane, who would have more time to measure, and deploy, his long-range missiles.
While neither player is renowned for their hold-up play, Kane is more than capable of bringing teammates into the game.
Both players love to run at defenders, which would give a Spurs a bona-fide one-two threat. Zaha is proficient in front of goal and has the natural killer instinct top strikers rely on.
If the experiment didn’t work out, Zaha offers a reliable and dangerous solution off the bench for Kane, who is overplayed, and consequently, more susceptible to recurring injuries.
Spurs talisman needs a rest once in a while – though he certainly wouldn’t admit to it – and Zaha would provide Kane with dearly needed respite.
Zaha’s development and production
Zaha was touted as the next big thing when he signed as a 20-year-old for Manchester United in 2013. However, his career at United was over before it started. He made only two appearances in a Red Devils shirt before going on loan to Palace.
Zaha signed a permanent deal at Selhurst Park in 2015, where he has scored 10 goals in 78 appearances with the west Londoners. Those numbers are disappointing and aren’t demonstrative of a player whose transfer fee is valued at about £25 million.
The Ivorian is plagued with inconsistency, a lot of which barrels down to his tumultuous – and often fractious – relationship with former manager Alan Pardew. Before he received his marching orders, Pardew left Zaha’s name out when referring to his best attacking options.
But the situation has improved significantly since Big Sam Allardyce took the helm a few months ago. Zaha has scored six goals and chipped in with seven assists this season, but more importantly, is playing with the confidence he’ll consistently need for a successful stint at a top team like Tottenham.
This won’t be the first time Tottenham, if they pursue him in the summer, bid for the energetic and enigmatic front man but it will probably be the last, as he’ll either be a Spurs player or these rumours will be put to bed once and for all.
I’m for the former, as Pochettino will undoubtedly stimulate the potential in Zaha that has for years been promised.