Even the BBC are singing about Zaha… but Palace rule January sale (even for 20m)
13:18 GMT, 12 November 2012
Crystal Palace have ruled out selling wonderkid Wilfried Zaha in January after the winger was called into the England squad for Wednesday's friendly against Sweden.
The 20-year-old has helped Palace to the top of the Championship after several dazzling displays this season and Arsenal currently head a long list of admirers as they prepare a 9million bid in January.
Scroll down to watch Susanna Reid singing the 'Zaha song'
On the up: Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha has earned a call-up to the England squad
But Palace co-owner Stephen Browett insists the club would be foolish to part with their best player as they push for promotion.
'We absolutely do not want to sell Wilfried in January,' he told the Evening Standard, 'If you finish bottom of the Premier League you get 60million in prize money, and with parachute payments over four years you’re guaranteed 100m.
'It is such a massive amount that selling your best player when you have a good chance of promotion makes no sense at all. The figure of 20m has been talked about and that lets clubs know we are serious but he is not for sale.'
Decisions, decisions: Zaha was reluctant to accept the England invitation
Zaha was at first
reluctant to accept the invitation from Hodgson, fearing it would force
him to make a snap call between England and Ivory Coast. He finally
agreed at 9pm to join up with the full England squad.
Hodgson was on a train north and
initially unable to control the chaos going on behind the scenes. He
expected Zaha’s inclusion to be a formality but the winger, named the
best young player in the Championship last season, wanted time to
consider his decision.
As the Sweden match is viewed as a
‘non-competitive friendly’, Zaha could yet commit to Ivory Coast even if
he plays for England on Wednesday. The same situation applies to
Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling, 17, who is being courted by Jamaica, where
he was born.
Zaha took a call from Ivory Coast captain
Didier Drogba last Wednesday urging him to play for the country of his
birth at the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
Drogba was understood to be persuasive
last week in his approach to Zaha, who will continue to consider his
options on the advice of the former Chelsea striker. Last week, Zaha
told Sportsmail it was ‘50-50’ whether he would commit to England.
Having been born in Abidjan, Zaha
moved to England with his extended family and eight siblings when he
was four. He was lauded as the ‘best player in the division’ by
Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson after Palace’s win there on Saturday.
And Browett believes Zaha will have no problem stepping-up to international level.
'Wilfried is clearly a brilliant player, and a lot of the thanks for that has to go to our Academy and the manager there, Gary Issott,' he added.
Quiet word: Didier Drogba (right) wants Zaha to represent the Ivory Coast instead
'I don’t think he will be fazed by this as he has played more than 100 professional games for the club. He has played away at all the top Championship clubs and when we won at Manchester United last season he was superb.
'Most of the other youngsters in the England squad will have played a handful of games but he has had the opportunity to play regularly.
'A number of clubs in the Premier League just don’t have that many English-qualified players, so maybe Roy Hodgson should be looking towards the Championship.'