Football - United on course for Zaha

Manchester United are now the clear favourites to sign the highly-rated Wilfried Zaha after Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger denied interest.

PA Sport

Speculation that United are poised to sign Crystal Palace's exciting 20-year-old winger, who is valued at a reported £15million, has intensified in recent days. Zaha, who made his England debut last November, is regarded as the most exciting talent in the country outside the Barclays Premier League.

Zaha revealed in a tweet last year he is an Arsenal fan but, despite reported interest in the player, Wenger insists a move was never a possibility. Wenger, at a press conference to preview his side's midweek clash with West Ham, said: "We were never in for Zaha. I don't know if he will go to Man United. If he goes to Man United, good luck to him."

There have been reports that United have held discussions with Palace and that further talks between the clubs are planned. It has also been suggested that United could sign the player and then loan him back to the promotion-chasing Championship club for the remainder of the season. Neither club have commented on the reports.

Zaha has come through the youth system at Palace after joining the club at the age of 12.

His progress has attracted interest from a number of clubs and was underlined by his selection for England's friendly against Sweden two months ago, although he remains eligible for birth country Ivory Coast.

United's squad, meanwhile, are preparing for this weekend's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Fulham at a warm-weather training camp in Qatar. The visit of the Cottagers will see striker Dimitar Berbatov back at Old Trafford for the first time since leaving.

Berbatov, signed by United for £30million in 2008, left United for the London club in August.

United defender Jones said: "The FA Cup is a great competition and one we want to win. We want to go as far as we can - it's a competition I've always admired.

"It'll be great to see Berba back at Old Trafford, technically he's a fantastic player. Hopefully we can get the result we want and continue to progress in the competition."

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