Everton reportedly fear a hijack from Chelsea in pursuit of £80 million rated Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha, who is also a target for Arsenal.
According to a report by Daily Telegraph, Chelsea have emerged as the dark horses in the race to sign Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace. The Blues are attempting to steal a march on Everton for the Ivory Coast international, who has also been the subject of interest from Arsenal this summer.
It has been quite a captivating transfer window for those actively following the speculations over the future of Wilfried Zaha. All summer long, Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for the former Manchester United winger. But, Crystal Palace have been hell bent on keeping hold of their talisman.
The Eagles’ bid to retain the services of Zaha have been helped by the fact that Arsenal have been heavily constrained by their restricted budget. But, the emergence of Everton in the race to sign the 26-year-old has thrown a spanner in the works for Arsenal and Palace, who now find Chelsea vying for their star player as well.
For Arsenal, the need for a player like Zaha is urgent, with Unai Emery deprived of natural wingers in his squad. As a result, the Gunners have been in desperate search for wingers this summer, although a lack of sufficient funds has kept them from pursuing a deal for their preferred targets. But, recent reports suggested an improved bid was being formulated by the Gunners.
As for Everton, Marco Silva has a few wingers at his disposal after the return of on-loan players. But a closer look suggests the need for reinforcements, with Yannick Bolasie and Kevin Mirallas likely to leave this summer, while former Arsenal star Theo Walcott has become a pale shadow of his own self. Chelsea though, have been named as the latest candidates to pursue a deal for Zaha.
Eden Hazard completed his dream move to Real Madrid this summer. While Christian Pulisic has replaced the Belgian within the first-team setup, the fact that Pedro, who is in the final year of his deal with Chelsea, and Willian are in their thirties will not be lost on Frank Lampard. The Chelsea boss could thus, do with a player like Zaha to add to his long-term arsenal, which also includes Callum Hudson-Odoi.
While Everton are reportedly offering Cenk Tosun plus £60 million to cover Zaha’s £80 million valuation, Chelsea’s offer could be the game changer. The Blues have been slapped with a two-window transfer ban, meaning they will only be able to take him to Stamford Bridge next summer.
Such a scenario would help Crystal Palace keep Zaha onboard for one more season while also being handed a boost in their chase for Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi. Another obstacle in Everton’s pursuit is the fact that they cannot offer European football, which Zaha is yearning for.
Arsenal though, can provide European football this season itself and with the player insistent on leaving Crystal Palace this summer, the Gunners might still fancy their chances, although the £80 million price tag still poses a problem.
This is a transfer saga that keeps on getting interesting by the day. While Chelsea’s interest comes as a boon for Crystal Palace, only time will tell if they are able to keep hold of Zaha, with Arsenal and Everton hotly pursuing him.