Crystal Palace set to offer Wilfried Zaha deal to make him club’s best-paid player

Exclusive by Ed Aarons
The Guardian
Crystal Palace set to offer Wilfried Zaha deal to ward off suitors
Crystal Palace set to offer Wilfried Zaha deal to ward off suitors

Crystal Palace are expected to offer a Wilfried Zaha a new contract to make him the club’s best-paid player in the summer in a bid to ward off interest in the Ivory Coast forward from a host of Premier League sides.

Zaha scored his sixth league goal of the season on Saturday and laid on the assist for Christian Benteke’s winner against leaders Chelsea as Palace recorded a fourth successive victory under Sam Allardyce. It continued the 24-year-old’s fine run of form that has caught the attention of some of the country’s biggest clubs, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City understood to have expressed an interest in signing him in recent weeks.

Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino is also a long-term admirer having seen a £12m bid for Zaha rejected by Palace last summer, with chairman Daniel Levy expected to make a renewed bid at the end of the season for a player whose current contract expires in 2020.

Speaking on BBC Five Live’s Sportsweek programme day, the Palace chairman, Steve Parish, admitted that he intends to discuss an improved contract with Zaha’s representatives as soon as their Premier League status is assured, with the south London club expected to offer the youth team product a salary in excess of Benteke’s £110,000-a-week package.

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“We would love to keep Wilfried, we will sit down and talk to him as soon as we’re safe and I’m very hopeful of doing so,” said Parish, who also revealed that Zaha does not have a release clause in his current deal, which is worth around £35,000 a week.

However, with Zaha believed to be keen on testing himself at a higher level, it remains to be seen whether any new deal would contain a clause allowing him to join a club playing in the Champions League. Palace, though, remain intent on convincing their prized asset that he would be best served remaining in south London if they can secure top-flight football for a fifth successive year.

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