Pat Rice and chief scout Steve Rowley have both reportedly given Zaha rave reviews and that Arsenal are expected to make a starting offer to Palace of £9 million when the transfer window reopens in January.
But with Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United also been keeping tabs on Zaha, who made his England debut against Sweden earlier this month, the price is expected to end up being closer to £20 million.
When asked specifically about his interest in Zaha earlier this week Arsene Wenger said:
‘We are looking at every player who could strengthen our squad – but he is not more on the list than anyone else.’
If Arsenal do land Zaha it would be a further indication that Wenger is going British. After being criticized for not having any British players in his squad, it looks like Wenger has made a conscious to build his next team with a core group of British players. Gibbs, Chamberlain, Wilshere, Jenkinson, Walcott (maybe) and Ramsey. Add in Zaha and you could potentially see Arsenal with six British players on the pitch sometime in 2013. Considering that not too long ago Arsenal often played with 0 British players, this is quite an about turn by Wenger.
But back to Zaha. Arsenal’s new shirt sponsorship deal with the Emirates is expected to free up £25-30 million for Arsene Wenger to spend in January. The question is whether Arsenal should spend the majority of those funds on Wilfried Zaha?
No doubt that Zaha is a great talent. But that is a lot of money for basically Theo Walcott’s replacement, especially with holes elsewhere in the team.
I would rather see Wenger get a top class holding midfield player so that Wilshere and Cazorla can push forward. And I would prefer to see Arsenal add another top striker. Not that I am unhappy with Giroud, but if he gets hurt, there is a big drop off in quality behind him.
So would you spend the money on Zaha, or do you want Arsenal to target other areas of the team first?