Arsenal are planning a formal bid to sign Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha, according to The Telegraph. The report states the Gunners' manager, Arsene Wenger, will push for a mid-season switch, as he looks to boost his attacking options for the second half of the season. But the Eagles will demand a large fee if they are to release their star mid-way through their fight to win promotion to the Premier League.
The 20 year old Ivory Coast-born forward has been in excellent form for the Selhurst Park club. His four goals and three assists in 19 Championship games have contributed to the club's run to second with 40 points from 20 games and Palace trail leaders Cardiff City by just one point.
Zaha's performances have also alerted the Gunners' Premier League rivals Liverpool and Tottenham; the Mirror credits the Reds and Spurs with interest. An earlier IBTimes UK report quoted former manager Dougie Freedman as saying Zaha would be worth upwards of £11m but given the amount of interest, The Telegraph speculates a bid in the region of £18m may be needed.
Following the growing interest, Zaha recently acknowledged he would have to sit down and think about his future and indicated he would make a decision sometime in January. The youngster signed a five year contract with Palace in December last year.
Meanwhile, the Gunners continue their search for more attacking options. Wenger did sign a trio of internationals in Germany's Lukas Podolski, Spain's Santi Cazorla and France's Olivier Giroud in the summer but a Daily Mail report confirmed the club was looking to sign at least two more forwards.
Arsenal will lose Ivorian international Gervinho to the African Cup of Nations next month and probably Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh too. On-loan Danish international forward Nicklas Bendtner (presently with Serie A champions Juventus) could return but given that both Bendtner and Chamakh are fringe players, at best, Wenger will be left with only Giroud, Podolski and England international Theo Walcott as proven front-line players. And, worse still, given the uncertainty surrounding Walcott's contract extension, Arsenal could finish the season with alarmingly few strikers.
Former striker Thierry Henry is expected to make a second consecutive loan appearance for the club in January, if an agreement can be reached with his parent club, New York Red Bulls, but the 35 year old is a short-term fix at best.
Wenger has been linked to Atletico Madrid forward Adrian Lopez and Hannover 96 striker Mohammed Abdellaoue as a long-term solution and the arrival of Lopez and/or Zaha in January could do wonders for what remains of the Gunners' season.