Manchester United Transfer News: Red Devils Front-Runners to Nab Wilfried Zaha

Josh CohenCorrespondent IIJanuary 8, 2013

Wilfried Zaha won't likely be in a Palace jersey for long.
Wilfried Zaha won't likely be in a Palace jersey for long.Christopher Lee/Getty Images

It looks like Manchester United is going to get an exciting young talent in Wilfried Zaha.

According to Simon Jones of the Daily Mail, Alex Ferguson is hell-bent on securing the 20-year-old forward's transfer from Crystal Palace. The second-tier English football club is seeking substantial financial compensation to part with Zaha, as well as other incentives.

Manchester United remain confident of signing Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace despite Tottenham gaining a head start in the race for the England starlet. 

Tottenham are understood to have opened negotiations with Palace, who value Zaha at £20million. However, the bidding is likely to start at around £7million with players also being offered on loan as part of a package that will include add-on cash based on performances.

Though Tottenham made the first overture to Palace, ESPN reports that they are not in contention for Zaha. The price tag is likely dissuading the Spurs, too rich their blood even for a singular young talent.

After making his debut for England's national football team in November 2012, Zaha showed what he could do against Premier League competition in Palace's FA Cup match against Stoke City. Per Yahoo! Sport, Stoke boss Tony Pulis came away thoroughly impressed by the forward.

"He looks a terrific player," said Pulis. "He's got great feet and his balance, like all great players, is wonderful. He can go either side and he shifts people without even touching the ball. He's a top, top player."

Ferguson certainly feels the same way. The Daily Mail is reporting that the Red Devils' manager is pushing for a personal meeting with Zaha in his quest to lure the Palace's prize to Old Trafford.

We have an English football legend attempting to woo an English football prodigy to England's largest and most storied football club. The stars are aligned for this deal to go down, and Manchester United has the financial wherewithal to pull it off.

That turns the question to when rather than if, with conflicting reports on when Zaha will become available.

Per ESPN, Palace chairman Steve Parish anticipates keeping Zaha until the summer.

“I think he will be a Palace player until the summer and then we will look at it," Parish said. "Obviously, we will look at anything that anybody offers us because we would be mad not to."

On the other hand, the Daily Mail reports that the Palace's boss is hoping Zaha's transfer is resolved quickly.

"Manager Ian Holloway voiced his concern that Zaha’s form was being affected by the transfer speculation and hinted it would be beneficial for all to sort out his future sooner rather than later."

Whether it happens in January or July, the table is set for Zaha to become a Red Devil. Yet with Holloway's apprehension and Manchester United's aggression, expect the two clubs to reach an agreement during this transfer window.

The rich will continue to get richer, and a great young player will get to make his mark on a great, historic squad.