Everton in Zaha talks

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 27: Wilfred Zara of Crystal Palace in action during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Everton FC at Selhurst Park on April 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 27: Wilfred Zara of Crystal Palace in action during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Everton FC at Selhurst Park on April 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images) /

Well it appears as though the rumours were true and Everton are now in talks with Crystal Palace about signing Wilfried Zaha.

After several days of what seemed at first to be idle speculation, Sky Sports are saying Everton have now officially opened talks with the south London club over a possible deal for Zaha.

The quoted amount the Blues are prepared to put on the table for the Ivory Coast forward is £60 million, which also apparently includes an existing Everton player going the other way to Selhurst Park.

That player is rumoured to be Turkish striker Cenk Tosun, who has failed to find a regular place in the Blues starting eleven and has struggled to make an impact in the Premier League.

But I’m wondering if it might not be James McCarthy, given that Tosun has had a tough time and considering Palace have supposedly expressed an interest in signing the Toffees midfielder. With his asking price said to be around £10 million that would make sense.

However this could of course be a separate deal to the Zaha one, if either of them happens!

This Zaha move is a surprise from the Everton hierarchy. And one that I don’t imagine many Evertonians expected, given all the noise this summer about running a tighter ship and getting value for money from transfer dealings.

Spending such a sum would be, as well as a club record fee, a real statement of ambition showing that the Toffees are determined to compete for the best available talent in the Premier League, whatever the asking price.

But you also feel there might be a bit of desperation here as well. The Blues have not had any luck luring overseas attacking talent to Goodison so perhaps there is a little bit of panic creeping in…?

Whatever the truth, £60 million is way too much for Zaha or indeed any player really apart from perhaps the very top strikers who can guarantee you 25-30 goals a season. They are always going to command huge amounts because of their scarcity and the obvious importance of a reliable goal scorer.

But in this massively inflated transfer market you have to recognise that especially if you want English-born talent, (although Zaha plays for Ivory Coast he was born in London), you have to pay considerably over the odds.

If he came, Zaha would in my view be a fine addition to the Blues team and I think he could make a real impact at Goodison Park. He certainly has plenty of talent although he needs to make a more consistent impact in games.

And you feel he is ready again for a move after his switch to Manchester United in 2013, which came too early in his career.

It also seems as though he has been coasting a little bit at Palace recently. No disrespect to the Eagles, genuinely, but Zaha has been the proverbial big fish in a smallish pond and perhaps he needs a fresh challenge now.

Coming to Everton would be just that. And in many ways I think it might actually suit him better than going somewhere more predictable like Arsenal.

At 26, Zaha is coming towards his peak and I think that a move to the Emirates could see him possibly end up like other high-profile talent such as Mesut Ozil and Henrik Mkhitaryan who seem to have lost their way there.

There is also a sense that Arsenal are treading water and now seem to lack the financial muscle to persuade and secure the best talent, which will make them a real top-four contender again.

Whereas Everton, under the ownership of Farhad Moshiri, (despite the occasional hiccup!), and the guidance of Marcel Brands in particular, seem to be showing a sustained commitment to creating not only a winning team but also a successful club culture. Both are things that are long overdue.

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At Everton, Zaha would find himself joining other hungry young talent like Richarlison and Lucas Digne at a club which feels like it’s really stirring at last.

This next season or two is perhaps the last chance for the Toffees to bridge the gap between themselves and the top five or six clubs in England.

And with the plans for the new stadium at Bramley-Moore dock finally unveiled yesterday, it seems like it’s truly now or never for Everton to make that move.

We can only wait and see if this deal comes off and Zaha joins the Blues. But at least it has sent a message Everton are still prepared to spend big for top talent if they think the player is the right one for them.