Crystal Palace: £36m Selhurst Park star 'could play for top club'

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira during Newcastle United clash

Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha is good enough to play “anywhere” in the frontline and at a top club, believes former Premier League midfielder Carlton Palmer.

The £36m-rated 29-year-old has spent most of his career on the flanks, but manager Patrick Vieira recently suggested that he could convert him into a striker.

What is the latest news involving Zaha?

A few times this season, Vieira has used Zaha up front, and the Frenchman told Palace’s official club website last month that it could be a tactic he employs going forward.

“I have to convince him and that will take time, but that is a position that I believe he can play,” Vieira said. “He’s really strong at holding the ball, he is capable of linking the game and he can drop in the midfield.

“I believe this is a position that he can excel in for us. We’ve had a couple of conversations about that. He doesn’t say no, but it takes him time to buy into it.”

This is not the first time Zaha has played as a No.9, with former manager Roy Hodgson having used him there in the past, so it is certainly not a position that is foreign to him.

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What has Palmer said about Zaha playing up front for Palace?

Palmer thinks Zaha is more than capable of fulfilling the centre-forward role for Palace, hailing the Ivorian’s ability.

Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, the ex-Leeds United and Southampton star said: “He can play anywhere along the top, whether it’s wide, as a striker or anywhere. He’s got undoubted ability and, for me, I don’t understand why he’s not playing at one of the top football clubs. I really don’t with the ability he’s got.”

Should Vieira convert Zaha into a striker?

Zaha is a goal threat, so you can see why Vieira can envision the former Manchester United man, who has scored 14 times this season, being a success in that No.9 role.

However, given the way he can beat a defender, with the 21-cap Ivory Coast international currently averaging 2.3 dribbles per league game (via WhoScored), surely you want him on the wing more often than not.

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Described as “one of the Premier League’s most dangerous players” by Brighton boss Graham Potter earlier in the campaign, the Eagles may lose a bit of invention and creativity if they shove Zaha up front and constantly into the opposition’s box.

Vieira has shown at Palace, though, that he knows what he is doing, while such a move could help Zaha add even more goals to his game to the benefit of the team, so perhaps it could be a good ploy in the grand scheme of things.

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