Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce admits he would not be able to stop Wilfried Zaha from leaving for Tottenham, but believes the Ivory Coast international should stay at Selhurst Park for the sake of his development.
Zaha, 24, is currently enjoying his best season in the Premier League to date, delivering a number of fine performances and leading Palace's charge away from the relegation mire, which they have impressively distanced themselves from in recent weeks.
The former Manchester United winger's displays have understandably drawn interest, with Tottenham leading the list of suitors aiming to prise him away from Allardyce. The former England boss is comforted by the fact that the winger still has another three years left to run on his deal, but knows he cannot "control" Zaha, who wanted to join Tottenham last summer.
"As far as I know Wilfried's contract has a considerable amount of time left to run," Allardyce said in a pre-match press conference. "Whether it's us negotiating in the summer and he wants to stay or whether an outrageous bid comes along, I don't know.
"From a personal point of view he needs to stay here, play and help Palace improve, he's definitely developed since returning from Manchester United. He's getting closer to the final product, I think he can find himself even more if he stays here, but I'm not in control of [his future]."
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Zaha is fit and ready for Tottenham's visit to Selhurst Park on Wednesday night (26 April), but Allardyce will be without James Tomkins, who suffered an ankle injury during Crystal Palace's 2-1 victory over Liverpool on Sunday. Allardyce believes the former West Ham United defender is lucky he has not broken a bone, and believes the challenge on him by Marko Grujic was worthy of a straight red.
"It's a bad injury for Tomkins," Allardyce added. "We're very pleased there's nothing broken considering the volatile nature of the tackle. We don't know if he will be fit again this season, which is bad for us with Scott Dann also out. I think he [Grujic] was lucky to get a yellow, it should have been a red. He wasn't in control and hit just above the ankle."
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