This connection has been working for the ninth season in a row. When you think of Crystal Palace, the vast majority of fans think of Wilfried Zaha. He is the biggest threat to the London team. Why is he still in it, even with better teams circling around him?
Zaha was already at Selhurst Park in the Championship in the 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2013/13 seasons, scoring a total of 15 goals. In 2014/15, he returned to London, this time in the Premier League, and really got going. Take a look at his stats for yourself though.
2016/17 | 35 games – 7 goals/9 assists
2017/18 | 29 games – 9 goals/3 assists
2018/19 | 34 games – 10 goals/5 assists
2019/20 | 38 games – 4 goals/3 assists
2020/21 | 30 games – 11 goals/2 assists
2021/22 | 33 games – 14 goals/1 assist
2022/23* | 4 matches – 4 goals
Almost every transfer period, big clubs from England circle around him, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United were interested. But Zaha remains loyal to Crystal Palace. Why might this be so?
Better a star than one of many
Almost all footballers aim to play for the biggest team possible and win titles. But not everyone necessarily has it as their first priority. In short, Zaha would rather be the big star in a smaller team that everyone relies on than be one of many.
The example of Jack Grealish is similar. He was an untouchable god to Aston Villa supporters, as the captain pulled the Villains back into the league at the age of 23, the fans would have given him blue sky. That is why he stayed at Villa Park for a long time, even though all the big clubs were circling around him.
In the end, however, he decided to leave for Manchester City, who paid 100 million euros for him. There, he has not yet won a place in the starting line-up, he is one of several strikers at the moment and can forget about the privileged position of a star. And maybe Zaha doesn’t want to lose that.
Satisfying play style
It is somewhat related to the reason mentioned above, but this time we are not talking about the position in the club, but directly about the position on the pitch. Crystal Palace have Zaha’s style of play tailor-made, last season five of Zaha’s 14 goals were game-winners, virtually all directed at the Ivorian striker.
He would certainly not be given such a position in a big club. And maybe that’s why Zaha doesn’t want to leave Crystal Palace. When he was at Manchester United, he played only two games and was quite disappointed with his engagement at Old Trafford.
Build something in the Crystal Palace
Playing for a big club and winning titles may be the dream of most footballers, but not everyone can have it that way. Zaha may want to build something with Crystal Palace, achieving some success with the London outfit would be all the more fun.
“This season he proved to everyone how much this club means to him, he performed excellently and scored important goals. I believe he can reach an even higher level here and help the team grow.” coach Patrick Vieira praised his charge at the end of last season.
Source: Crystal Palace