Crystal Palace are closing on a deal for Wilfried Zaha, which is likely to result in Manchester United making a huge loss on the England international.
The 22-year-old developed through the youth system at Selhurst Park, and was considered as one of the best talents in the country when he moved to Old Trafford in January 2013 for an initial fee of £10million. Zaha was loaned back to the Eagles for the remainder of that campaign, and helped them clinch promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs.
When he finally pitched up in Manchester ahead of the 2013-14 season, Sir Alex Ferguson was no longer at the helm and had been succeeded by David Moyes. The winger, who has two caps for England, feature in just a couple of league matches for the Reds, before he spent the rest of the season on loan at Cardiff City where he was unable to prevent them from relegation.
Zaha was part of Louis van Gaal’s pre-season preparation in Manchester, but the Dutch coach was happy to send him back to Palace for the duration of the campaign in August. He has gone on to make 15 Premier League appearances for the Londoners, nine of which have come from a starting position, and he has been an ever-present since the appointment of Alan Pardew.
According to The Guardian, Zaha is now poised to make his move to the Eagles permanent. It is believed the capital club will pay just an initial £3million for the player, with a further £3million to be paid dependent on performance-related targets. Pardew would like to cement this deal well in advance of Monday’s deadline, which would free up a place for another loan in his squad.
Speaking recently, Zaha said: “I have a smile on my face because I am back on the pitch. The gaffer has put his trust in me and I am trying to give it back and perform for the team. When I am here, I feel more confident. I have lived in south London all my life and my family is here. I cannot keep that in my head all the time because I could have another move, but Crystal Palace is my home.”
Meanwhile, Palace have let Stuart O’Keefe join Cardiff for an undisclosed fee after he slipped further down the pecking order under Pardew. The midfielder told the Bluebirds official club website: “I’m really happy to be a Cardiff City player. I enjoyed my four years at Palace, but I wanted to come here now for a new challenge. I’m 23 and I felt it was the right time to take the next step in my career.”