Expensive Wilfried Zaha signs for Manchester United

By Stowe Gregory
Wilfried Zaha
Image courtesy of “Football365.com” – Zaha playing for Crystal Palace this season, finally makes his inevitable switch to a top Premier League club.

Manchester United has completed a deal with Crystal Palace for English winger and attacking midfielder, Wilfried Zaha on a 5 1/2 year contract.

Sir Alex Ferguson is believed to have met with the 20 year old in “secret” talks earlier this week. The fee is around £15m, with Palace expected to receive £10m now, and a possible further £5m in the future, depending on appearance and development clauses.

However, his new club will loan him back to Crystal Palace until the end of the season, to help aid both his development whilst also presumably being a key point in the deal.

Zaha, has impressed throughout this season’s Championship campaign and had made his England senior debut vs Sweden in November. Despite Ian Holloway‘s attempts to keep Zaha at Palace for as long as possible, the almost shocking price tag is far too much to refuse.

Palace are believed to have allowed Zaha the opportunity to talk with the Premier League‘s most successful club in one of London’s finest hotels on Sunday night – following Man United’s 1-1 draw away at Tottenham.

He is the latest star to come from the Palace academy, following Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton) and Victor Moses (Chelsea).

Analysis of the move: 

The fee is one that rises eyebrows, despite his obvious talent, £15m is an incredible sum of money for a 20 year old Championship player. But Zaha’s England call up this year and nation wide attention is evidence of his sheer potential.

The Ivory Coast born, pacey and tricky winger is also reported to have been chased by Tottenham and Arsenal – but it is Sir Alex Ferguson’s United that have won the battle.

Despite the price tag and the negatives for the transfer market in the English game that come with it – this is still exciting news for England fans; given the fact that it is a fresh, new talent who will now develop under arguably one of  the best youth nurturing club and manager. Is there any better manager to keep a young player’s feet on the ground, whilst developing him into a world class player and not over or under playing him?

Just take a look at Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and most recently Tom Cleverley or Danny Welbeck. 27 years of managerial experience may be what Zaha was so attracted to, having stated previously he was not so concerned whether he would join Manchester United or Arsenal (despite apparently being a ‘Gooner’).

Zaha can play in a variation of positions across the front line and looks more like a dynamic modern player than we are used to seeing in England players. His footwork and variation in trickery seems to be natural and easy whilst combined with a end product.

Fans have understandably criticized the sum of the fee, and you’d expect they will continue to do so until we really see what Zaha can make of his career. But Sir Alex for me is the greatest at nurturing young British talent, and therefore I can truly see Zaha flourishing at Old Trafford.

Zaha England v Sweden
Image courtesy of “Football365.com” – Zaha made his surprise England debut vs Sweden in November and could be set for his 2nd cap vs Brazil.

There has been praise all around for the youngster, with fellow Palace winger, Yannick Bolasie stating that he’s the best partner of his career. England boss Roy Hodgson certainly had no doubts regarding his potential and current ability with that England debut in November, and some believe he will be called up again next month, for the friendly with Brazil at Wembley.

Take note too, that English footballers do (whether it’s right, or wrong.. it’s wrong) go for more money than any other nationality. Just take a look at the likes of Connor Wickham (£9m) or Andy Carroll  (£35 – the 19th highest transfer fee of all time). More so, the fact that Zaha has actually played for England now, will too have raised the asking price.

So why have Manchester United splashed the cash on “Wilf”?

Well, Sir Alex Ferguson is always looking not only at the present of the club, but the past and most importantly, the future too. Ferguson strongly believes and has striven to continue, the Busby Babe ideology, that youth and a wealth of British talent is something the fans strongly agree with. He has always looked and built with that philosophy ever since the “class of ’92” and knows that the future of the club must always be kept in mind. That is the same reason he brought in youngsters Nick Powell and Angelo Henriquez this summer.

Zaha falls into that same category, if Sir Alex’s scouts and sources have told him that he could be onto one of the upcoming youngsters in British football, then he will seriously consider a move, even if it means working with the Glazer family and David Gill to break the bank.

However, the move does now spark questions regarding Nani‘s future at the club, with strong rumors that unrest between his and Ferguson will lead to his departure this summer. Zaha’s arrival will only strengthen that. Despite Ferguson having previously stated that Nani is a part of the club’s future.

At just 20, Zaha now has the world at his feet (apologies for the cliche), at one of the world’s top clubs, under one of the game’s greatest ever managers. It will no doubt take time for him to develop but if he does as Man United will believe, then the price tag may be justified.

By Stowe Gregory – Tweet or follow @stowegregory


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