Wilfried Zaha denies suing his agent over failed transfer from Crystal Palace

Luke BradshawSports Writer
Wilfried Zaha (Credit: Getty Images)
Wilfried Zaha (Credit: Getty Images)

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has denied taking legal action against his agent Will Salthouse over failing to secure a transfer away from the club last summer.

According to the Daily Mail, the issue centres around the fact that as well as representing Zaha, Salthouse also has a close relationship with Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish, thereby compromising any potential transfer dealings with the club.

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Zaha is supposed to have contacted Salthouse about leaving Unique Sports Management (USM), as well as speaking with IPS Law – a firm based in Manchester – about representing him in a case against USM. That case will be decided at a private arbitration hearing.

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Under FA Rule K, any dispute between a player and intermediary will be resolved by an independent panel. There is also a possibility that both parties agree to a financial settlement before the tribunal is formed.

Zaha responded on Twitter, saying: “Do you lot sit and literally wonder what I’m up too (sic) then just make up stuff about me”.

USM represent a number of professional footballers, including four other Crystal Palace squad members – Andros Townsend, Jordan Ayew, Jeffrey Schlupp, Cheikhou Kouyaté – as well as Manchester United defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who left Crystal Palace in the summer in a £45 million deal.

While Parish and Salthouse have worked with each other for a number of years in contract negotiations and transfer deals with various Palace players, they were also both part owners – along with Brighton striker Glenn Murray and Swansea midfielder Wayne Routledge (both former Palace players) – of Dirtybird Restaurants Limited, a chain of chicken shops that went into administration in August of this year.

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish (Credit: Getty Images)
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish (Credit: Getty Images)

Zaha’s deal with USM runs until next summer and the company plans to hold him to his contract. Should he get his desired move away within the next two transfer windows, USM will still be entitled to any commission from a deal, as originally agreed in his contract.

Salthouse has represented Zaha for seven years, orchestrating his move from Crystal Palace to Manchester United in 2013, as well as his return a year later.

Last month the 26-year-old Ivory Coast international signed a new deal with the club, worth around £130,000 for the next five years. It comes after a summer in which Zaha expected to leave Selhurst Park, with Everton and Arsenal both interested, and handed in an official transfer request. The Merseyside club even had a £52 million deal rejected by Parish, still some way off Palace’s estimated £80 million valuation.

Zaha told BBC Africa: "I've got to prove every time that I'm the top player I claim to be so I had to get over that quickly. Obviously my head was a bit all over the place at the beginning of the season but I had to nail down and just get on with it because the team deserved that.

Wilfried Zaha celebrates against Norwich City (Credit: Getty Images)
Wilfried Zaha celebrates against Norwich City (Credit: Getty Images)

"I'm seeing how it goes. I'm a Crystal Palace player and I'm just trying to perform to the best of my ability for my club," he added. "I'm not thinking about anything else and just taking each day as it comes.”

Despite the new deal, plus being reintegrated back into the side by coach Roy Hodgson (after being left out at the beginning of the season), a move away is still a possibility over the coming year, although the new contract makes the asking price potentially significantly higher.

Last year it was revealed that Salthouse received payments of £6,000 in 2015 and £4,000 in 2016 in free bets from bookmakers for introducing them to footballers at private boxes he hired at Cheltenham Festival.

USM has yet to respond to Yahoo Sports UK’s request for comment.

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