Chelsea, despite a slow start, might end the summer window as real winners if they manage to keep hold of in-demand Willian and also splash the cash to rope in long-term transfer target Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace who is valued at around £75m – a price that has pulled Tottenham Hotspur out of the race allowing the Blues a clear run before 9th August’s deadline, Mirror understands.
Zaha, the 25-year-old former England international who recently switched his allegiance to Ivory Coast, has been Palace’s best performer since earning them a Premier League promotion back in 2013 and although the winger had a failed stint with Manchester United, his second spell at Selhurst Park helped the Eagles to retain top-flight status defying odds. Zaha was deployed as a centre-forward due to a scarcity of options upfront, but he settled in sensationally in a makeshift role scoring 9 goals and assisting thrice in 29 Premier League outings, thus, guiding his side out of the drop zone and ensure safety despite the worst possible start under ex-boss Frank de Boer last summer.
A five-year contract extension last year tied him up to the summer of 2022, but a gigantic bid is tipped to be enough to lure Zaha in and the Blues, struggling to retain their stars as well as failing to land preferred transfer targets in absence of Champions League football, will have a significant boost if they manage to strike a deal before the new Premier League season kicks off next weekend.
Hodgson, the veteran Crystal Palace chief, meanwhile, is confident about retaining Zaha for the upcoming term and shared what he discussed with the dynamic attacker recently.
“I spoke to Wilf yesterday and he certainly gave me no indication it was true about wanting to quit the club. In fact, we were talking about how good the new signings were and how they would help us.”
The gaffer stated in his latest interview.
Chelsea, on the other hand, are finding it hard to keep hold of both Willian and Eden Hazard and looking to add more depth as well as versatility high up the pitch under new boss Maurizio Sarri. The former Napoli boss has hijacked a deal for Jorginho under the nose Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola but failed to land both Aleksandr Golovin and Gonzalo Higuain in past couple of weeks. Despite Hodgson’s statement, the Blues must make one last-ditch attempt to bring in the forward to West London from the South and Zaha, too, must aim a greater glory to mark his name among the elites of English football once more after an underwhelming spell at Old Trafford years back.