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Manchester United to earn £17.5 million if Wilfried Zaha sells for £70 million

Manchester United could earn £17.5 million if Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is sold by the club this summer. The Sun has reported that if the London club demand £70 million for the player this summer, the Old Trafford club would earn the figure as part of the deal with saw Zaha leave the United for his former club. In January 2013, Zaha became Sir Alex Ferguson’s final signing at the club with many thinking that the player was the real deal. However, it did not work out for him.

Zaha has a contract at Palace which expires in the summer of 2023, so the club hold the keys regarding the price for the players departure this summer. Zaha, 27, was strongly linked to Arsenal last summer but no move materialised for him. This summer, the player has made it known that he wishes to leave the club for a new challenge. During the course of the 2019/20 season, Zaha made a total of 39 appearances, scoring four goals and five assists, which is not great for the player.

Palace manager, Roy Hodgson has admitted that there is little he could do to stop the player from leaving this summer but the club will ensure that he does not leave on the cheap. The higher the fee, the more money United would make from the transfer. Back in 2013, United paid an initial £10 million for the player, which could have risen to £15 million if add-ons were met. That was probably not the case. Zaha made just four appearances for United during the 2013/14 season and was loaned to Cardiff City during the second half of the season.

At Cardiff, under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who managed the club at the time, Zaha made 13 appearances, scoring no goals but assisting once. United were not happy with what they saw from the player, with reports of an attitude problem and something going on with David Moyes’ daughter, something which the player confirmed was not true. During the 2014./15 season, Zaha was loaned back to Palace for the entire season, making 31 appearances, scoring four goals and four assists.

During the winter transfer window in 2015, Palace re-signed the player on a five and a half year contract, initially paying £3 million for the player, which could have risen to £6 million. A low fee for the player. However, United inserted a clause into the contract which included a sell-on clause giving United a percentage of the future selling price for the player, which puts everything into perspective now. If the player leaves, United would reportedly earn 25% of the eventual selling price.

Now, If Jadon Sancho, a player that has scored 20 goals and 20 assists in 44 appearances this season in the Bundesliga, is worth £100 million or more, Zaha, who has scored four goals and five assists is £30 million or more behind him, also being seven years older than Sancho and a lot less talented, in my opinion. Zaha is worth £40 million tops and that is being generous. However, he has three years remaining on his contract to that could be there the extra monty comes from. If he is sold for £40 million, United would earn £10 million if reports are true.

Written by John Walker

What happened to Sir Alex Ferguson’s forgotten team?

In the study of filmography, a prominent theory is ‘equilibrium theory’. Equilibriums are in simple terms, a signifier of normality. But ultimately the plot is at its most thrilling and entertaining when the equilibrium is breached. On the 7 May 2013, Manchester United suffered a disequilibrium that would rival the drama of even ‘The Terminator’ franchise.

Their illustrious and seemingly immortal manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, announced his retirement from football. United’s decline is well documented, but a common misconception is that Ferguson left his successor David Moyes, with an ageing team. Throughout his period at the helm of United, Ferguson was acclaimed for the subtle rebuilds of his outrageously successful teams.

The mid-noughties additions of future superstars such as Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Rio Ferdinand, paired with the more-shrewd signings such as Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic. This transpired in a European Cup, and three consecutive Premier League titles. All of this is well documented, but the rebuild Ferguson constructed post-2010, appears to have been lost in history.

This began in 2011 with the additions of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, two raw talents who at the time were touted to be future mainstays for club and country. Jones, in particular, was immediately put on a pedestal, with Ferguson famously referring to the Englishman as ‘the next Duncan Edwards’. In Smalling’s case, the towering centre half has shown glimpses of fulfilling his potential, notably under Louis van Gaal.

While Jones has never lived up to his Edwards comparison, he has delivered some solid performances for United; most prominently through his brief partnership with Eric Bailly under Jose Mourinho. However, due to injuries and a lack of development in the wake of the Scots retirement, both Smalling and Jones are widely viewed as Theo Walcott prototypes- ‘oh what could have been’

While Jones and Smalling were sought in the market, there were two other exciting young English talents in the squad: Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck. Welbeck made his first steps into the United first team in 2008, coming on as a substitute against Middlesbrough. In the following years, Welbeck developed into an exciting forward.

A player with scintillating pace and desire; who appeared to fit the mould of a forward in Ferguson’s evolution. In 2013, the Mancunian’s crucial goal at the Santiago Bernabeu in the last 16 stage of the UEFA Champions League, appeared to further cement the Englishman’s place in the Red Devils’ future endeavours. But just 12 months later, Welbeck’s stock had fallen drastically.

Not only had the man who had mentored him departed the club; injuries plagued the forward’s campaign. Football is a cynical sport, and Welbeck’s bizarre attempt to audaciously chip Manuel Neuer signified to many that the decision making of the 23-year-old (at the time) was inadequate. On the back of a disastrous campaign for both the player and the club, the Englishman was offloaded to arch-rivals Arsenal for a measly £16 million.

While Jones, Smalling and Welbeck constructed the defensive and attacking dimension of the new look spine; Cleverley appeared to be the candidate to plug the gap in midfield. A tenacious and seemingly technically gifted player; Cleverley played a role in United’s infamous 8-2 thrashing of Arsenal; a game in which Jones, Smalling and Welbeck were also present.

In Ferguson’s final season, Cleverley made 22 league appearances, while scoring the first league goal of his career against Newcastle United. However, in the following season, the midfielder’s performances were substandard, to say the least, which ultimately resulted in his loan spell to Aston Villa for the season, leaving for Everton on a free the following summer.

It’s important to note that there was one success story in Ferguson’s final wave of transfers: David De Gea. The irony is De Gea was initially perceived to be a questionable signing. His difficulties competing in the air and his blunders in his first season, notably on his debut against Manchester City; resulted in De Gea facing intense scrutiny.

Furthermore, it’s easy to forget that in the 2012/13 season he even lost his place to Anders Lindegaard. However, De Gea is a rare example of a player who excelled in the wake of Ferguson’s departure. The Spaniard’s meteoric rise deservedly won him the ‘Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award’ in four of the next five seasons. De Gea has been a rare positive in United’s era of mediocrity and has proven an astute acquisition by Ferguson.

The final signing of the ‘Fergie era’ was Wilfred Zaha: a 20-year-old tricky winger from Crystal Palace. Zaha played a pivotal role in Palace’s promotion to the Premier League and widely viewed as one of the most exciting young prospects in his age group. The Ivorian winger seemed to be an obvious candidate to fill the right-wing position, which United desperately needed following the decline of Antonio Valencia.

However, alleged attitude problems meant Zaha was instantly out of favour under Moyes. After just two appearances, Zaha was shipped off to Cardiff City on loan in January 2014. Following his stint at Cardiff, Zaha was sold back to Palace, where his performances have at times been exceptional. 

In addition to this long list of players, Nick Powell, Alexander Buttner and Rafael and Fabio da Silva also fell into the United abyss. At a time where United are frantically attempting to construct yet another vast clear-out, the impact of Ferguson’s departure could not be starker. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the young team that Ferguson built may have brought illustrious success.

Furthermore, the stagnation of such a vast number of young players also further diminishes the eras of Moyes, Van Gaal; and to a small extent Mourinho. Mediocrity has transformed into the equilibrium at United. But United fans hope that one day, just like Arnold Schwarzenegger; they’ll be back.

Written by Alexei Braithwaite

Manchester United move came ‘too soon’ says Wilfried Zaha

Former Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha has admitted that his move to the Old Trafford club came too soon in his career. Sir Alex Ferguson made Zaha is final signing of his reign at the club, paying £10 million, which could have risen to £15 million, in January 2013, the player then being loaned back to Crystal Palace for the remainder of the season. Zaha first caught Ferguson’s eye after Palace knocked United out of the League Cup in 2011.

Zaha made the move to Manchester ahead of the 2013/14 season, with David Moyes as the manager. Zaha made just four appearances for the club, two starts, and two substitute appearances. Zaha spent the second half of the season on loan with Cardiff City, spending the next season, with Louis van Gaal as the manager at United, on loan at Palace again. That loan spell was made permanent the following summer (2015) with Palace re-signing Zaha for just £3 million, which could rise to £6 million.

This season, Zaha has shown glimpses of the player Ferguson thought he was signing for the club. He has spent a lot of time on the sidelines through injury, but sometimes that cannot be helped. The 25-year-old has spoken to Sky Sports about his time at United, which he admits he did not take seriously. It makes me wonder if Zaha would be a player to bring back to the club in the summer, especially with United needing a player on the right-wing, not that Zaha has played there a lot, but can. Zaha said:

“Me going to a big club when I was like 19 or 20, I didn’t know what to expect, how to behave, whatever. I was just a youngster who wanted to do tricks, I didn’t even care about end product really. Now I take things a lot more seriously – the gym aspect, recovery after games, my decision-making.

“I’ve learnt a lot in terms of my all-round game. I’m totally different now. I’m definitely more mature and more strong-minded. I had to be mentally strong after what I went through at United. I think in football, most of it is just mental. Once you’ve got that sorted, then you’re good.”

This season, Zaha has played 2,281 minutes in the Premier League, a total of 26 appearances, 25 of them as a starter for Palace. He has scored seven goals, assisting a further two, earning five yellow cards, seemingly seen as a player who dives. Speaking about referees having an agenda against him, Zaha continued by telling Sky Sports:

“There definitely is an agenda against me. I’ve seen so many other players dive but nobody makes a commotion the same way they do with me, trying to get me banned. I don’t get banned because I don’t dive, but why does everyone want me to get banned so much? I feel like, going into games, referees literally just jump on the bandwagon.

“It’s annoying, especially yesterday. Everybody knows how Watford play, they are a team that fouls quite a bit and I’m a player who does tricks, so they are going to end up kicking me. The amount of times I got kicked in the game, it literally looked like I was on the floor most of the time. People are going to think, ‘Yeah, he’s diving’, but you know how Watford play.”

Defensively this season, Zaha has averages 1.2 tackles, and 0.2 interceptions, showing the fact he will not only get involved going forward. In an attacking sense, which is Zaha’s strongest attribute, he has averaged 2.2 shots, 1.7 key passes, 4.1 dribbles, also being fouled 2.7 times, being offside 0.7 times, and being dispossessed 3.8 times per match. Zaha does lose the ball around 3.7 times per match due to bad control. His passing is an admirable 73.3%, which for an attacking player is not too shabby.

Zaha can play in many positions. This season he has mostly played as a centre-forward, also playing as a left forward, a right midfielder and as an attacking midfielder on both the left and the right. This shows that he could be made to play in a Jose Mourinho side, with many of his players being able to deputise elsewhere. His defensive work may need to improve though, especially if United do not strengthen the defence, mainly in the fullback positions. Dribbling is a strength of the player, his ability to keep hold of the ball and aerial duels are weaknesses.

There is nothing to suggest that Zaha has been linked with a return to Old Trafford but after he admitted that he did not take the mover seriously five years ago, it could be a sign that he has grown up and would take that chance if it came calling. Mourinho may not be interested in the player in the slightest, as England were not in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup this summer with Zaha now playing for the Ivory Coast instead, which could have been a mistake for England, especially if you ignore the context as to why he was seemingly ignored.

copyright: JW