Alex Wood of the Daily Star identified Newcastle and West Ham as the two teams believed to be in the lead to sign Wilfried Zaha next summer when he’ll enter free agency, according to a report published on Saturday, April 8.
Zaha’s contract with Crystal Palace expires next June, with the forward becoming a free agent on July 1st. Once he reaches that point, he will be able to sign with whoever offers him a deal.
Wood wrote that West Ham “believe the prospect of staying in London could be a compelling option for the experienced forward,” which is not unreasonable considering he’d stay where he currently lives, let alone in the country he’s always played in.
According to the report, Zaha is “eager to test himself in Europe,” and that is something only Newcastle would provide him with next season, facilitating a potential move to Tyneside. It’s also believed that Newcastle have been interested in adding the Eagles winger for some time after the Oct. 2021 takeover.
Of course, there is always the possibility of Zaha extending his contract with Crystal Palace. At the end of the day, Zaha has spent nearly all of his career at the London-based club.
Zaha first played for them in the 2009-10 season, aged 16 years old and logging 11 minutes in a cup-of-coffee app, and he’s played 13 full campaigns at Palace since then with brief spells at Cardiff City (2013-14) and Man Utd (just two games in that same season).
Considering Crystal Palace is expected to favor such a move, and thus try to favor extending the contract with the player to keep them in tow, Wood reports that Zaha “will listen to offers and is prepared to move away from Selhurst Park,” as he’s nearly guaranteed to have a fallback option and Plan B in re-signing with the Eagles if other offers don’t appease him.
Zaha suffered a groin injury against Leicester a week ago, which might force him to miss the remainder of the season. It’s unknown if the player and/or the club might eventually reach a gentleman’s agreement so he avoids any setback and can enter the free agency healthy and fully fit, not carrying any injury concerns that might hamper the deal he could get offered by prospective suitors.
The forward, who turned 30 years old last November, has played 438 games with Crystal Palace in all competitions, scoring 84 goals and assisting 47. This season, he has started all 24 Premier League games he’s been part of scoring six and assisting two goals through 2,065 minutes of play.