With Wlfried Zaha looking increasingly likely to sign for English giants Manchester United, it is crucial that the deal struck is correct for all parties involved.
Zaha is one of the hottest prospects in English football, and another to come off the talent conveyer belt that is Crystal Palace’s Academy. He follows the likes of Victor Moses and John Bostock who earned themselves big-money moves after impressing at a young age for the Eagles.
But Zaha only needs to look at Bostock to realise that the deal must be right for him, and that he should not get caught up in all the media hype. For his benefit, it's essential that he continues his development at Palace for the remainder of the season.
Bostock was also a burgeoning talent, becoming the youngest player to appear in League football for Palace. He was courted by the world’s elite and eventually earned a big move to Tottenham Hotspur. Whilst there was no doubting his ability and potential, Bostock joined a club where first-team opportunities were sparse.
Since his move, he has been shipped out on loan to the likes of Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday. There is a trend appearing here, can anybody spot it?
His most recent loan spell came at Swindon Town, a team plying their trade in the third tier of English football. Paolo Di Canio's side are a league below Palace, where he burst onto the scene at just sixteen years of age.
The fact is, Bostock took the move too early. Whether it was monetary incentive that clouded his judgement, or if he genuinely believed his development would be enhanced at Spurs; it was the right move, at the wrong time.
Now, no right-minded football fan would begrudge Zaha a move to United – it’s the stuff dreams are made of. It is however, imperative to his development that this deal is right for him, Palace and United.
United don’t necessarily need him now, they have quality in depth in wide areas with Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Nani able to occupy the flanks. And with The Red Devils in the hunt for the title, would they risk playing an unproven youngster anyway?
A deal where Zaha remains on loan for the remainder of the season would surely be perfect for all parties, allowing Zaha the regular game time that is so crucial at this stage of a young players’ career.
It would also be a massive boost to both clubs involved in the transfer. Palace would clearly benefit from keeping a player of such quality as they battle for promotion back to the Premier League. Manchester United would also profit from a loan back to Palace. Next season they would inherit a more experienced player and one who, realistically, could believe that he may earn a spot in the side.
It would be shame to see a talent like Zaha’s almost wasted in the way that Bostock’s has been. It is therefore essential that he remains with the club that gave him the chance to showcase his talents, at least until the end of the season.
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