Crystal Palace youngster Wilfried Zaha has confessed he will be forced to think on his future, sooner rather than later. The 20 year old Ivory Coast-born winger is a highly sought-after prospect by the Premier League's top clubs and is in excellent form with the Championship club.
Zaha, who has been called up by England coach Roy Hodgson for the midweek friendly against Sweden, is being courted by Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham, was fiercely protected by ex-Eagles' manager, Dougie Freedman, who recently moved to Bolton Wanderers. Also, the club's co-chairman, Steve Parish, has insisted any bid for the player would have to start in excess of £20m.
Palace's new manager, Ian Holloway, is equally determined to hold on to Zaha.
"He's played 100-odd games already at the age of 19. Sometimes you don't get that at these bigger clubs," the ex-Blackpool boss said, adding, "Yes, people will covet him. But it's all about timing. There is a lot in his game that we can all work on with him."
Zaha himself, meanwhile, has said he will think through his options before the January transfer window opens and decide whether or not he wants to move to the Premier League then or later.
"I have got a lot going on. I try to take my mind off it. I'm at Palace so I don't need to think about anything else. The fans have got loads of love for me, so it's a nice place to be," the youngster explained, adding, "I just have to do what I have to do and forget about everything else. But when January comes I have to decide."
The player signed a five-year contract with the Selhurst Park club in December and has four goals and three assists in 15 Championship appearances. Palace lead the Championship with 33 points from 16 games, with Middlesbrough and Cardiff City close behind on 32 and 31. The Eagles' are unbeaten since a disappointing run of three defeats to their season, back in August.
International Transfer Tussle
In addition to the interest from Premier League clubs, Zaha is also the centre of fight between the English and the Ivory Coast FAs. The youngster is eligible to play for either one of the two countries and, up until Hodgson's surprise call-up last week, it appeared he would play his international football for the country of his birth - Ivory Coast. However, the good news for the African giants is that even if Zaha does play in the game against Sweden, the fact this is a non-competitive fixture means he can still change his international colours.