EXCLUSIVE: Why is Wenger talking about Zaha Palace boss Holloway with fierce
'hands off' warning
16:04 GMT, 28 November 2012
Ian Holloway has blasted Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for acknowledging an interest in Wilfried Zaha and warned other January suitors off his prized asset.
Zaha has been centre of attention this November, a month in which he turned 20 and also made his England debut as a substitute against Sweden, and Wenger is one of a number of Barclays Premier League managers monitoring his exploits in the npower Championship.
When asked specifically about his interest in the 20million-rated winger on Tuesday morning, Wenger said: 'We are looking at every player who could strengthen our squad – but he is not more on the list than anyone else.'
On the run: Zaha is wanted by a host of top-flight clubs after impressing for Crystal Palace this term
Fury: Holloway is angry with the Arsenal manager for seemingly declaring his interest in Zaha
While the Arsenal manager didn't mention his name, it was widely received at the time that he was declaring his interest in Zaha.
Crystal Palace manager Holloway, who was due to sit down with the Selhurst Park hierarchy today to discuss their own transfer window strategy, retorted: 'Why is he talking about my players I don't think that's right and proper, with the greatest respect.
'I don't think anybody who manages any other club should actually admit who he likes and what he should be doing. I think that's totally bad etiquette. He can say what he likes but about his players, not mine.'
Holloway, who is less than a month into his tenure with the south London club, expects Zaha to spend some of his current five-year deal representing Palace in the Premier League.
But should that dream not materialise, the former Blackpool manager has already proposed his next destination.
'I have told Wilf what I would do if I was him, and we have got such a strong contract they can go and whistle to be honest,' Holloway added, of clubs preparing to make bids.
'I have just walked in on this, it wasn't my party, but I have to have some sort of say in it.
'I think the boy is learning, and learning in our first team. He has been here since he was 12, and the chairman has a grip of what he wants to do.
'At the end of the day I just want the best for the boy and I can guarantee he will get that: I know where I want him to go if he doesn't play for us in the Premier League next year, and I have already told him.
Interested: Arsenal manager Wenger is poised to make a move for the Crystal Palace winger
'But at the minute he probably will not be available no matter what the price is in January.
'I have been delighted with my few weeks here and at the end of the day Wilfried is a big part of this season.'
Palace are well placed to return to the top-flight and their position would have been enhanced further when Zaha released the manacles imposed on him by fellow promotion chasers Hull on Tuesday night only to be denied what would have been his fifth league goal of the season, and a last-minute winner, by home goalkeeper David Stockdale.
Your country needs you: Zaha made his full debut against Sweden earlier this month
A dozen minutes earlier, he had been clattered to the turf via a robust challenge from Hull's on-loan Manchester United midfielder Robbie Brady.
As displayed by the peerless Lionel Messi, however, to dust down and carry on is the best policy, according to Holloway.
'He gets kicked all over the place but that's what he has got to get used to. He's got to stop gesticulating and get up like Messi does, and in the meantime the more he does things like he did in those last couple of seconds of the match, the more people will be chasing if he becomes available,' Holloway said.
'What he has to learn to do – the more famous he becomes, the more people will talk about him – is to produce.
'I have got no doubts that he will. I just have to make sure that he looks right to those sitting in the stand. If he gesticulates to the referee then those people watching might be put off. You just have to get up like Messi, get on with it and do it again.'