Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has responded to speculation linking him with a surprise move to Liverpool by making a solid statement over where his future lies.
The 29-year-old Ivory Coast international is now in his ninth season of a second spell at Selhurst Park. Regarded as the club’s talisman, he is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer in Premier League history. But with his deal expiring at the end of the season, Palace face a nervous wait in seeing if he will commit to a new deal.
Indeed, there are no shortage of admirers for Zaha. Both Chelsea and Arsenal are reportedly considering moves for the 88-goal attacker. There is also claims of interest from Liverpool too. Jurgen Klopp is a confirmed admirer of Zaha’s with reports last month revealing cheeky plans by the Reds for a raid on the Eagles.
Furthermore, there are also reports of interest from European clubs too. Zaha will be eligible to negotiate terms with overseas clubs in just 56 days time, further impressing on Palace the need to tie down their star.
Eagles boss Patrick Vieira, though, remains unmoved. Responding to speculation that Zaha could be lured away, he insists the winger is only focusing on helping Palace climb the table.
“It is not (a distraction) for him and it is not for the football club as well,” he said.
“We know how important it is for us and, again, he knows how much the fans, the club love him. And we know how much he loves the football club as well.”
Wilfried Zaha with strong statement on Palace future
Discussing a potential contract extension, Vieira added: “The decision has to be his decision, and we will do everything in our side to keep him because he is an important player for the football club. But then we will have to see.
“At the moment, he is playing well, is performing well, and that is all that matters for now.”
Now Zaha too has addressed claims he is already planning a move away from Crystal Palace.
And speaking to Sky Sports, Zaha is keen to stress he is not giving links to the likes of Liverpool any thought.
Zaha said: “How many times have I seen myself, my name next to transfer stuff. I never speak on these things, when my contract is up, my contract is up but until then I’m a Crystal Palace player. The only thing I’m focused on is doing well for the club, that’s it.
“I take every day as it comes, I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future so I can’t sit here and say this is my plan. I’m only fixated on what I’m going to do in training and what I’m going to do on Sunday. I’m very devoted to Crystal Palace and that’s all I’m thinking about.”
Zaha a huge figure at Palace
The Eagles are currently 11th in the Premier League table ahead of Sunday’s Premier League London derby at West Ham.
They have scored 13 goals so far this season with Zaha scoring five of them. The tricky winger has also weighed in with one assist, meaning he’s responsible for over 46% of the club’s goals.
As such, his importance to the case cannot be understated enough. And to lose him now as a free agent at the end of the season would be a significant blow for Palace.
Vieira, however, is refusing to put pressure on the player, insisting he knows his importance to their cause.
“If you mention names like that [Liverpool, Juventus and Barcelona] to any player in the Premier League, it creates an excitement. We will do everything we can to convince him to stay with us.”
However, it now very much feels a case of now or never for Wilfried Zaha if he is to make a move away from Selhurst Park.
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