Barcelona identify Wilfried Zaha as Neymar alternative (Zaha arguing in the picture)
Crystal Palace's Ivorian striker Wilfried Zaha (R) clashes with Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba and Manchester United's French striker Anthony Martial during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park in south London on July 16, 2020. - Manchester United won the game 2-0. (Photo by PETER CZIBORRA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

According to a recent report by International Business Times, Barcelona have identified Crystal Palace speedster Wilfried Zaha as an ideal alternative for Neymar during the summer transfer period. The same source has also stated that the Eagles attacker has expressed his desire to leave Selhurst Park which could open the door for the Catalans to recruit him this summer.

Zaha’s Solid Form At Selhurst Park Last Season

Zaha has enjoyed another solid season at South London after producing a series of impressive displays as the chief attacker of Roy Hodgson’s frontline. He had featured in 39 matches for the Selhurst outfit last season, registering four goals and five assists on all fronts which goes to show just how important he has been in his side’s battle to steer clear of the relegation zone.

The Ivorian wide player deserves a lot of praise for averaging 1.6 shots, 0.9 key passes and 4.3 dribbles per game in the Premier League. He has also been careful when distributing the ball based on his pass completion rate of 81.1% in league football (stats via whoscored).

Zaha has also got some decent experience at the international stage, having made 17 senior appearances for the Ivory Coast national team, netting five goals for his country in the process. Maybe a change of scenery this summer could help the Eagles goal-getter find some form and secure more senior caps for his nation in the years to come.

Barcelona identify Wilfried Zaha as Neymar alternative (Zaha in action in the photo)
Crystal Palace’s Ivorian striker Wilfried Zaha (L) vies with Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford (R) during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park in south London on July 16, 2020. – Manchester United won the game 2-0. (Photo by PETER CZIBORRA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

What Does The Ivory Coast International Offer On The Field?

Zaha can use his quickness and power to get to the byline and create all sorts of problems for the opposition defenders. He has a low centre of gravity that allows him to make clever turns inside the opposition penalty box. The Ivorian attacker has also built a reputation for earning penalties due to his unpredictable nature in the attacking third.

Is Zaha The Right Fit For The Catalans?

When Zaha is fit and firing on all cylinders, he can be a real handful for any defender due to his relentless running and outstanding athleticism out on the wide areas. He will be a decent fit for the Catalans as long as he can handle the growing expectations of playing at the Nou Camp week in week out.

Zaha will not only add more goals and creativity to Quique Setien’s frontline, but also improve the overall depth of his squad. Plus, he is versatile enough to play in any position across the frontline which could make him a useful squad player at Catalonia next season.

With all things considered, Barca would do well to land Zaha this summer, but only if he is available for the right price. The Ivorian speedster will also provide some serious competition for the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembélé in the race to secure a regular starting berth in Setien’s first XI in the coming seasons.

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.