Wilfried Zaha poised to follow Neil Warnock back to Crystal Palace

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Football News

Wilfried Zaha looks set to leave Manchester United prior to the transfer deadline, with reports suggesting that the winger is poised to return to Crystal Palace following their recent managerial appointment.

The experienced Neil Warnock - whose first stint in the dugout at Selhurst Park ended in 2010 with the club fighting to stave off administration - was yesterday announced as the successor to the recently-departed Tony Pulis and The Daily Mail now claim that he will immediately launch a move to bring former Eagle Zaha back to the club.

Such reports suggest that Palace will look to secure an initial season-long loan deal for the 21-year-old for a fee of just £1.5 million, with Warnock perhaps looking to offload Jason Puncheon given the fractured history between the pair.

Warnock uncertainty

Many hardened Palace supporters - who believed they would be welcoming Malky Mackay as their new manager before the former Cardiff and Watford boss became embroiled in an unsavoury saga relating to abusive text messages - appear unsure on Warnock's return, so a move for a popular character such as Zaha could certainly help the transition to run more smoothly.

Having begun his career with the club, the England international made over 100 appearances for Palace between 2010-13 before completing a dream move to Manchester United last January in what was Sir Alex Ferguson's last piece of meaningful transfer business before his retirement.

Zaha popularity

This was not the last contribution Zaha would make to the cause in South East London, however, with the Red Devils deciding to allow him to return to his former employers on loan for the rest of the campaign. 

Such a decision proved invaluable for Palace and then-manager Ian Holloway, as Zaha netted twice against rivals Brighton in the Championship play-off semi-final second-leg to help them on their way to securing promotion back to the top-flight.

Warnock himself has been quick to comment on the speculation surrounding Zaha, confirming that he has been in contact with the player and is hopeful of sealing the deal as early as today (Thursday).

"I had half hour last night telling him why I want him to come back and I'm optimistic we are going to do it today," he said.

"When you get the chance, you can't turn down Manchester United but there are so many big players there and sometimes you get a bit lost."

While some Manchester United supporters have questioned Zaha's attitude and application, the former Queens Park Rangers and Sheffield United favourite indicated that he had no concerns whatsoever on that front.

"He is still developing, Wilfried, and he has got so much talent. When you are a wide player, or a forward, you need to feel loved.

“I've heard it said about his attitude, but I've always thought his attitude has been spot on, so I'm looking forward to working with him."

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If Zaha were indeed to return to Crystal Palace, then it is unlikely that many Manchester United supporters would be too concerned.

Having returned to Old Trafford last summer following the arrival of David Moyes, the Ivorian-born trickster made just two appearances in the top-flight before embarking upon a disappointing stint with relegated Cardiff City.

The fact that Zaha did not even make it off the substitute's bench for Tuesday's 4-0 Capital One Cup humiliation at the hands of League One outfit MK Dons goes to prove just how far his stock has fallen under Louis van Gaal.

UPDATE: Shortly after publication, the deal for Zaha to return on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent deal was confirmed.

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Manchester United
Crystal Palace
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Wilfried Zaha

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