Manchester United Transfer Rumors: Wilfried Zaha's Cost Is Growing Untenable

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05:  Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace reacts during the FA Cup with Budweiser Third Round match between Crystal Palace and Stoke City at Selhurst Park on January 5, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Manchester United may have eyes for Wilfried Zaha, but Crystal Palace may be pricing the young winger right out of a January transfer.

We've known all along that Crystal Palace either wanted to keep Zaha for the duration of the season or have him loaned back until the summer in the team's bid to reach the Premier League next season. And that makes a lot of sense—there's money to be had by moving up to the top division.

But now it would seem Palace has once again raised its valuation of Zaha while still demanding he be returned. At some point, Palace's demands will simply become too outrageous, and we're steering dangerously close to that point.

From Simon Mullock of the Mirror:

Manchester United will have to pay ­£15 million including add-ons AND allow ­Wilfried Zaha to stay at Selhurst Park for the rest of the season to sign the Crystal Palace whizz-kid.

Sir Alex Ferguson has been making his own checks on Zaha (above) and his personal ­intervention in the process suggests that United are ready to increase their initial bid of £10 million.

At one point, it seemed like a £12 million fee and a loan back to Crystal Palace would get this deal done, and frankly, that made sense. Palace was getting an excellent deal in that agreement, but truly, all sides got what they want.

But now Crystal Palace is trying to have its white truffle and eat it, too.

At some point, the demand that Zaha immediately be loaned back has to limit the fee Crystal Palace hopes to gain in return. Yes, the team will be paying his wages, but United will be without a player that would likely see time out on the wing.

Plus, it would allow Sir Alex Ferguson to finally move on from Nani this winter.

And while Ferguson may be convinced that Zaha will be a good Premier League player, we haven't seen him compete against the top guns just yet. ­£15 million is a sizable chunk of change for a player unproven at England's top level.

Then again, when you read quotes like the following, you see why Palace boss Ian Holloway isn't kidding when he makes serious demands for Zaha (via ESPN):

He is so unique. He is an untouched, pure talent. I've never worked with anyone like him - he just wants to get the ball and beat people, However many there are, he can do it... Good gracious me, it is quite unbelievable what he can do, and hopefully, a lot of fans around the country will see him still progress because it is so pure. You just want to give him the ball. I find myself willing my other players to give it to him because the more he has it, the better my team does.

He may be all of that and (someday) more, but Manchester United still has to decide how much all of that is worth. And if Zaha's price keeps going up, it's time United got out of these negotiations. 


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