I have made it quite clear: I want Arsenal to sign Wilfried Zaha. But if The Telegraph’s reporting is correct, that Crystal Palace want £100m million, then it is time to say ‘no’.
Arsenal need a winger. I would, in fact, argue that the winger position is the biggest need this summer. But wingers, in the modern market, do not come cheap. And that, for a strapless Gunners who have a reported £40 million to spend if they do not win the Europa League final in two weeks, is problematic.
Nevertheless, the one winger that I want Arsenal to sign is Wilfried Zaha — that being, if I was in charge of the football club, Zaha is the player I would be targetting above any other this summer. I have stated this many times. For those that have had the displeasure of reading or listening to much of my stuff, you would probably already know this. Zaha is the man for me.
But there must come an extent to my desire to see Zaha signed. Every player has a price to be sold at. Conversely, every potential recruit has a price that is simply not palatable. There are financial restrictions that must be adobe by. This is not Football Manager, sadly. And it seems as though Zaha and his current club, Crystal Palace, may have reached and even surpassed that final barrier of price.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Palace have slapped a mahoosive £100 million price tag on Zaha’s head, a figure that made me baulk when he first read the headline. It was expected that Zaha would cost north of £50 million, perhaps as much as £80 million if a bidding way between several potential buyers erupted. But £100 million is a jaw-dropping fee, one that I cannot see many teams being willing to pay.
And I would agree with them. I think Zaha is a superb footballer. He would, in my opinion, be the ideal solution to Arsenal’s dribbling problems — of players that have played more than 1000 Premier League minutes, only Eden Hazard has more dribbles completed per 90 minutes than Zaha. The Ivorian also has 10 goals and five assists, an excellent return playing for a bottom-of-the-table Palace.
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But paying £100 million for any player is something that I would be hesitant to support, especially considering the number of positions that the Gunners must address this summer, and the limited resources with which they can sign potential solutions. If you are to splash that type of money on a player, they must be a bonafide superstar. And I am not quite sure that Zaha is yet at that level.
Now, could he become that truly world-class winger? Yes, I believe he could. But there is risk, and when spending nearly double your previous transfer record, there cannot be any risk. You have to be signing a surefire world-class player, and Zaha is not quite there.
I would still love for Arsenal to sign Zaha. I think he would be ideal for this team, exactly what is needed. But I don’t want him that much. Not for £100 million.