Patrick Vieira says there’s ‘no truth’ in reports linking Wilfried Zaha to a summer move to Arsenal.
The Ivorian winger, who scored against the Gunners on Monday night, only has one year left on his contract at Crystal Palace and has regularly been tipped with a move to north London in the past. But Vieira has reaffirmed his desire for academy graduate Zaha to see out his career at Selhurst Park where he is idolised by the fans and many of the club’s young players coming up through the youth system.
When asked in his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon to comment on Arsenal’s apparent transfer interest in Zaha and Palace’s reported willingness to listen to offers for him this summer, Vieira said: “He has been linked after the [Arsenal] game?! There is no truth about that.”
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He added: “I believe Wilfried is an important player for the team, for the football club, he is a really good inspiration for the young players that we have. He knows this club better than anybody else and when he is performing like that, you know you only want to keep your best players. And he is one of them.”
Zaha is currently enjoying his best season in front of goal with 11 strikes in 28 games, tying his tally for last season and still with ten matches of the season still to play. Since his return from the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast, he’s contributed five goals in eight Premier League games, scoring in the wins over Watford, Wolves and Arsenal.
He also grabbed a goal and an assist in the 4-0 hammering of Everton in the FA Cup quarter-final against Everton last month, setting him and the club up for another semi-final following 2016’s win at Wembley over Watford.
Vieira has said previously he thinks Zaha is currently playing through the very peak of his career but has still said he can contribute more to the team and hit even greater levels in a Crystal Palace shirt.
“Looking at every team in the league, you have a player that can make a difference. And Wilfried is one of them for us,” he said. “I’m glad that he’s playing well and he’s creating chances, and he’s scoring goals. He’s in a really good period at the moment.
“There’s a lot more he can do for the team. He’s working hard, he’s creating chances and he’s scoring goals. I’m really happy with his performances at the moment. And again, the challenge is the same for him as the rest of the players – to maintain those kinds of performances.