EXCLUSIVE: Wilfried Zaha is yet to agree a contract extension at Crystal Palace despite being verbally offered a bumper new deal… and the Premier League club fear their chances of keeping their talisman beyond this season are fading
- Wilfried Zaha has been verbally offered a bumper new deal by Crystal Palace
- However, the 29-year-old is yet to agree to extending his contract with the club
- Zaha can speak to overseas clubs on January 1 if he doesn’t sign a new deal
- Palace fear that their chances of keeping Zaha beyond this season are fading
Crystal Palace and Wilfried Zaha are not close to an agreement over a contract extension after the club verbally offered their talisman a bumper renewal.
The news heightens concerns at Palace that Zaha plans to leave when his current deal expires at the end of the season.
Indeed, Zaha effectively becomes a free agent on January 1 when he can sign a pre-contract agreement to join an overseas club ahead of next season and there currently looks little prospect of a deal before the turn of the year to avoid that scenario.
Wilfried Zaha has not yet agreed to extend his Crystal Palace contract beyond next year
Talks have taken place over a money-spinning new contract for attacker Zaha. It is understood a formal written offer is yet to be submitted, but the Eagles have made a substantial verbal offer during discussions.
The deal includes a significant pay hike on his current £130,000-a-week wages – a package which would represent the biggest playing contract in the club’s history.
Communication remains open and it remains to be seen whether an improvement in the terms offered to Zaha could accelerate the prospect of an agreement.
But there is doubt over whether Palace are prepared to improve significantly upon the offer they have already made.
Zaha has been a key player for Patrick Vieira since the Frenchman arrived at Selhurst Park
Indeed, Palace fear that despite their and Zaha’s improvement under Patrick Vieira, plus the prospect of a significant pay rise, hopes of retaining him are fading.
Since re-signing Zaha permanently in February 2015 Palace have successfully kept the attacker, who turns 30 next week, out of the reach of his admirers.
However they will be powerless to prevent him leaving at the end of this season when Zaha’s current deal runs out.
Zaha first left Palace in 2013 to join Manchester United, becoming Sir Alex Ferguson’s final signing, but he made just two Premier League starts under his successor David Moyes.
Palace fear their chances of convincing Zaha to stay at the club beyond this term are fading
Perceptions that he is not cut out for the highest level, following that brief stint when he feels he was not given a fair opportunity, have frustrated Zaha, who would be keen if offered the chance to prove them wrong.
Being a free agent will only increase his hopes of securing such a move.
Zaha has been the subject of interest from the Premier League’s elite in the past – Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham among the Big Six – as well as United.
Zaha enjoyed his best ever season at Palace last term in Vieira’s first year in charge, scoring 15 goals in all competitions with two assists from 37 appearances. He already has six goals and one assist from 11 games this season.