Wilfried Zaha's Africa Cup of Nations commitments could scupper Tottenham move

Matt Law
Wilfried Zaha in action against Tottenham last month - REUTERS

Wilfried Zaha’s hopes of a big-money move to Tottenham Hotspur have been hindered by his decision to pick Ivory Coast ahead of England.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino remains a fan of Crystal Palace forward Zaha, who the club failed with a bid for last summer, as the Argentine lines up his main transfer targets.

But Pochettino faces a tough task to convince chairman Daniel Levy that Zaha is still worth paying big money for after his decision to play international football for Ivory Coast, which will see him go to the African Cup of Nations every two years.

Tottenham would have to break their transfer record and make Zaha one of their best-paid players to land the 24-year-old, with Palace valuing him at over £30million and preparing a new contract offer worth £110,000-a-week.

Zaha missed four weeks of this season while he was away on African Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast and that, together with the money involved, is an unappealing prospect to Spurs.

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It is not certain that Tottenham would be prepared to meet the demands of Palace and Zaha had he opted to remain an England player, but his decision to switch nationalities and potentially miss six weeks of every other season will play a major part in their decision making process.

Premier League title-chasers Spurs have encountered problems with their last two club-record signings, Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko, and will tread carefully before breaking the bank again.

Palace chairman Steve Parish confirmed his club are willing to give Zaha another big pay rise after handing him a new £60,000-a-week deal last summer.

“He did get a new contract last summer,” said Parish. “I don't think it's about necessarily if other people are interested in him. It's about the value of the player and the value of the player within the squad. We've got other players earning certain amounts and that all has to come into consideration.

Zaha has racked up nine Premier League assists this season Credit: Rex Features

“Anybody would accept that Wilfried has developed as a player this season. Six goals, nine assists, by far his best tally in the Premier League. So you've got to look at that. As club owners and chairmen, you want to keep everyone happy.

“We don't want Wilfried just to stay here just because we tell him he's got to stay here. We want him to have the right deal for him, commensurate to where he's got to in his professional career. So that is what we'll be sitting down and talking about.”

While a move for Zaha is not certain, Spurs will make a big bid for their number one summer target Ross Barkley, who will only have one year remaining on his Everton contract at the end of the season.

England international Barkley is also being monitored by Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, but Tottenham are currently at the front of the queue.

Ross Barkley is another Tottenham target  Credit: Getty Images

City’s hopes of landing right-back Kyle Walker from Spurs were given another boost by Pochettino’s decision to put him on the substitutes’ bench for the victory over Arsenal.

Walker, whose future was already in doubt following a meeting with Pochettino, was far from impressed at being left out of one of Tottenham’s biggest games of the season.

Sources close to City believe Pochettino is willing to cash in on Walker, although Levy is understood to favour selling the 26-year-old abroad if possible.

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