Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Talk of £80m Arsenal or Everton moves left Zaha’s head ‘all over the place’

The Ivory Coast international was heavily linked with a switch over the summer, but he remains with Crystal Palace and fully committed to their cause

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha admits speculation suggesting that he was an £80 million ($98m) target for Arsenal and Everton over the summer left his head “all over the place”.

The Ivory Coast international generated transfer talk throughout the last window.

At 26, the former Manchester United flop was considered to be ready for another step back up the football ladder.

It was suggested that a boyhood Arsenal fan had his heart set on a switch to Emirates Stadium, but Palace’s reluctance to sell led the Gunners to land Nicolas Pepe instead.

Everton then saw big-money bids knocked back, with the Eagles eager to avoid parting with Zaha and Aaron Wan-Bissaka within a matter of weeks.

The man forced to remain at Selhurst Park admits he found a protracted saga testing but claims to have no regrets, telling BBC Africa: “I had to put my head down and play my football.

“I would have been hindering my own progress by moaning and not wanting to perform properly.

“I have too much respect for my manager, the fans and my team-mates to treat them that way. It was a thing where ‘OK, this hasn’t happened but I’ve got to get on with it’.

“I’ve got to prove every time that I’m the top player I claim to be so I had to get over that quickly. Obviously my head was a bit all over the place at the beginning of the season but I had to nail down and just get on with it because the team deserved that.”

Zaha is now fully focused on helping Palace in 2019-20, with Roy Hodgson’s side having collected 14 points from eight Premier League games to sit sixth in the table.

Any thoughts of moving on have been put to the back of the mind for now, with the highly-rated forward adding: “I’m seeing how it goes. I’m a Crystal Palace player and I’m just trying to perform to the best of my ability for my club.

“I’m not thinking about anything else and just taking each day as it comes.

“The season’s gone well so far. We’ve got a lot more in us and I’m happy with the squad and everyone’s happy with where we are right now.

“All I can do is perform on the pitch. I’m trying to be a consistent performer on the pitch week in, week out.

“Last season I set myself a target of 10 goals and managed to get 10, so I was happy. Hopefully I can reach my goals again – that’s all that’s on my mind.”

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