There is no doubting the ability of Wilfried Zaha. His direct play, goal threat and all-round wing wizardry has been on show now for the past couple of seasons at Crystal Palace. The burning question for Arsenal fans is simply: Should Gunners boss Unai Emery take a punt on the attacker?
It is well documented that Zaha is up for grabs this summer after yet another productive season for the Eagles — and it goes without saying that Emery needs to bolster his squad in many areas once the campaign comes to a close.
Does Zaha for the bill? Can he cut the mustard at a club vying for a top four spot? Don’t forget he made a move to Manchester United back in 2013 and, for one reason or another, the switch didn’t work out for either the Old Trafford giants or the Ivory Coast-born forward.
Well, when you look at the personnel who Emery has available to him as first team regulars on the flanks, then you would have to say ‘yes’. Because let’s face it, both Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have hardly set the world alight wearing the red and white of the north London outfit.
There are questions marks about Zaha’s personality and diving, gesticulating and some petulance have not won him many fans over the years. But all of that can be overcome with a loving arm round the shoulder and some serious coaching.
One former player who thinks Zaha is a potential candidate to join Arsenal is former Liverpool ace Steve Nicol. He has gone on the record recently to suggest the England flyer would be a good fit at the Emirates Stadium. There are other suitors in the mix, of course but one of them, Chelsea, may have to endure a transfer ban – and there are only a limited number of clubs that moving to would be considered a move up for Zaha.
And Nicol said: “I think the time is right for him to take a step up. I don’t believe he’s the type of player or person who wants to go abroad, I think he’s quite happy in England. He’s already had that stint at Manchester United, which was a complete disaster and was probably part of his maturing. Because he’s been there already, there’s been links to United. I don’t see him doing that. And I don’t think, psychologically, having had such a disaster there for two seasons that he would go back so we can forget them.
“Arsenal, I’m not keen on what they have in wide areas. Iwobi, for me, in the final third has no end product and Mkhitaryan has had an absolute disaster. I think they would like him and both sides would suit him. I think every player wants to go to the best but for him, he thought he was going to the best before and it didn’t work out. I don’t think it’ll be a case of going to the best side, it’ll be a case of going where you’re going to play.”
Before Emery recruits any players, though, he has to assemble his squad for one last effort when they face Chelsea in the Europa League final in Baku, Azerbaijan later this month.