Saturday, August 20, 2022

Crystal Palace Ace Feels ‘Amazing’ Being Linked With Arsenal Last Summer: Should Arteta Launch A Move For Him?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent episode of The Locker Room with Rio Ferdinand, Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha revealed that it feels ‘amazing’ being linked with Arsenal last summer when he said (transcripted by The Metro),

“It was nice. Supporting them and having them wanting you at the same time, leaves you thinking: ‘this is amazing’.

“But things never worked out so you just have to move on as quickly as possible. I was thinking this may happen and my family was saying ‘wow it’s Arsenal,’ but yeah it just didn’t work out. I’m 27, trophies are what it’s all about. If there are opportunities for me to win trophies then 100 per cent.”

Zaha’s Influential Role At South London This Season

Zaha has enjoyed another impressive campaign at Selhurst Park as he has been responsible for producing several match-winning displays as the primary attacker of Roy Hodgson’s frontline. He has featured in 30 matches for the Eagles this term, finding the back of the net on three occasions while providing five assists in all competitions which showcases his growing influence at the English capital.

The Ivorian wing wizard has also displayed incredible consistency as evidenced by his average of 1.5 shots, 1.0 key passes and 4.7 dribbles per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season. He is also quite accurate with his ball-distribution after completing 80.6% of his attempted passes in the English top-flight so far (stats via whoscored).

The ex-Manchester United speedster has secured 17 senior caps for the Ivory Coast national team, scoring five goals for his homeland in the process. Maybe a high-profile move to the Emirates Stadium could offer him a chance to take the next step in his career by competing for major trophies in the coming seasons. We can also expect him to play a crucial role for Ivory Coast when the 2021 African Cup of Nations kicks off next year following the competition’s deferral because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zaha, who is seen in the photo, feels 'amazing' being linked with Arsenal last summer
Wilfried Zaha #11 of Crystal Palace FC controls the ball during the match against FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium on July 16, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Crystal Palace FC defeated FC Cincinnati 2-0. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

What Are The Ivorian Winger’s Best Attributes?

Zaha can utilise his blistering pace and power to make some penetrative dribbles with the ball in the final third. He excels at getting the better of his marker when left isolated in a 1v1 situation and has also developed a reputation for earning penalties inside his the opposition penalty box as he often invites challenges because of his low centre of gravity and clever trickery up top. The Ivorian attacker can also score and create some important goals when his teammates need him to step up the most.

Should The Gunners Orchestrate A Move For Zaha This Summer?

Zaha has carried Palace on his back over the past few seasons, so it’s high time that he got an opportunity to play for one of the top English clubs once again following his disappointing spell at Old Trafford earlier in his career. He has all the attributes needed to serve as a useful option for the Gunners next season. The Ivorian will not only add more pace and variety to Mikel Arteta’s frontline but also enhance the overall depth of his senior squad.

Furthermore, he will also be a lethal impact substitute if Arteta decides to use him off the bench. Zaha will offer more competition for the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (if he stays), Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli by keeping them on their toes at North London in the years to come. Thus, it could be a shrewd move for Arsenal to launch a move to bring Zaha to the Emirates ahead of the new campaign. Of course, the cost of a transfer will be the most significant deterrent, but if Arsenal can move Ozil on, this could be a transfer worth considering. He and Pepe in the same team would be quite the thing to witness.

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