Chairman: Pochettino sanctions Tottenham bid for player he has dubbed the next Ronaldo
By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has revealed his club have rejected a £12million bid from Tottenham for Wilfried Zaha.
Parish dismissed the offer as “ridiculous” and claimed that Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino rates Zaha so highly he “thinks he’s the next [Cristiano] Ronaldo”.
Given the 23-year-old’s style of play and position as a winger, the Palace chief appears to be comparing the twice-capped England international to the Real Madrid sensation rather than the Brazil all-time great who was a centre-forward.
“We had a bid from Spurs but £12million – it’s ridiculous. I can’t imagine that they’re serious,” Parish told radio station talkSPORT, as cited by the Express, on Thursday night. “There is no chance whatsoever of Wilfried Zaha leaving the club in this transfer window.
“I can absolutely reassure every Palace fan he is an integral part of our plans.
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“We’ve told Spurs that there is really no point bidding for him because he is going nowhere – 100 per cent guaranteed.
“It’s not right really that players get their heads turned.
“I was told that the manager there thinks he’s the next Ronaldo. Well I’d like to get the next Ronaldo for £12million.
The Daily Mail claim the 23-year-old former Manchester United winger sat down with Palace manager Alan Pardew on Thursday and said he wants a transfer.
Despite Parish’s stance, Palace face an uphill battle to convince Zaha that his long-term future should still be at Selhurst Park.
The Guardian report that Palace are in the early stages of renegotiating Zaha’s contract and the player’s camp have been left “unimpressed” with the improvement proposed to his current £35,000-a-week deal.
Tottenham have identified Zaha as a top target as manager Mauricio Pochettino looks to increase the team’s attacking options.
Midfielder Nabil Bentaleb completed a loan move to Schalke on Thursday, while winger Clinton N’Jie is expected to join Marseille on loan with Kevin-Georges N’Koudou heading the other way.
Selhurst Park academy graduate Zaha broke into the Palace first team at the age of 17 and earned a reputation as a rising star of the English game before joining Manchester United in 2013 in a £15million deal.
Zaha could not break through at Old Trafford and, after a loan spell at Cardiff, returned to Palace in the summer of 2014, initially on loan before making it permanent in January 2015 when he signed on a five-and-a-half-year deal. The transfer was worth an initial £3million, rising to £6million with add-ons.
The wide player, who has won two international caps for England, has scored 27 goals and supplied 39 assists in 224 Palace matches.
He is the current Palace player of the year on the back of his 2015-16 form in which he scored five goals and assisted seven in 43 appearances.
His potential departure comes off the back of Yannick Bolasie’s £28million move to Everton.
Zaha has played the full 90 minutes in each of Palace’s opening two matches of the Premier League season, including last Saturday’s 1- defeat against Spurs at White Hart Lane.
Pochettino has said at the start of this season that he is happy with his squad, but that he would look at moves for one or two more players who could add quality to his side.
In other Tottenham transfer news, Southampton have agreed a club-record £21million fee for Spurs target Sofiane Boufal.