Zaha deal must be right for club – Parish

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June 15, 2021
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    Any deal for Zaha must be right for Palace – Parish

    Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish says any transfer involving the Eagles' star player Wilfried Zaha "has to be right for the club".

    The Ivory Coast forward, linked with Everton and Arsenal in 2019, has expressed a desire to challenge himself at the top level of European football.

    Zaha has played almost 400 games for the club after joining as a youngster.

    "We understand his position," Parish told BBC Sport. "It's no secret that he would like to challenge himself."

    Parish added: "But it has to be right for the football club. He understands that as well.

    "If those two things collide then we will have to look at it. But right now, we are two days into the transfer window so it's a bit early to talk about it."

    Zaha made his Palace debut in 2010, which coincided with Parish taking over the club, but then joined Manchester United in 2013 before returning to Selhurst Park the following year.

    A new Amazon documentary – 'When Eagles Dare' – has been released which charts how the club has gone from the brink of liquidation to an established Premier League side with Zaha its star player.

    Parish said: "He scored the first goal in the first game when we bought the club. He's continued to excel for us – best season ever with goals and assist tally last season.

    "(He) continues to be an incredible talisman for the team. Obviously, there is lots of talk about transfers and all that kind of thing.

    "All I know is that when he crosses the white line for Crystal Palace he gives 100%. Everything else, what will be will be. There's a lot of love around the club for Wilfried and everything he has done for us as a football club."

    Wilfred ZahaWilfried Zaha scored 11 Premier League goals last season

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    'Manager search is challenging'

    The club are searching for a manager to replace Roy Hodgson, who left at the end of last season, and there are a number of players who are out of contract.

    Former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo and ex-Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe have been linked with the vacancy, while Burnley boss Sean Dyche has spoken to Palace previously.

    "It's challenging obviously, there's not a lack of people who would like to come and manage Crystal Palace football club in the Premier League," says Parish. "We're very fortunate with that.

    "You have to try and get it right. Outside pressures – I see all sorts of stuff that's written – the really important thing is we block that out because the only thing that matters in the end is that we win football matches.

    "We have to find the right person to help us do that. Not only immediately but will also help us with the young players we want to bring through.

    "So, it's a big decision, these things take longer than you would like them to."

    The club will also be releasing a new documentary focused on the new category one academy which will open at the end of the summer. The facility will be open to schools and sports clubs in the area and classrooms will be made available for local residents to attend evening classes.

    Parish added: "The club's always had deep roots in the community, there's something like only 10 clubs that haven't been outside the top two divisions in the last 40 years and we're one of them.

    "That is because of the local talent we've got. The challenge for us is we've always been able to get that local talent in the team regularly when we were in the Championship – we need the right pathways to get them in the team in the Premier League.

    "Why can't we have five to six local players in the first team? That would be a dream for all of us."

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