Why are Chelsea interested in Crystal Palace winger?

Chelsea are in the market for new players to provide manager Frank Lampard with a squad capable sealing a top-four finish and advancing deep into the Champions League. The Blues transfer ban was reduced in January allowing them to add to the squad when the new year begins. One name that has emerged as a potential target is that of Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.

The 27-year-old was a target of Arsenal’s last summer but the Gunners ended up signing Nicolas Pepe from Lille instead for £72 million. Now, Chelsea are in the market for Zaha which has surely raised a few eyebrows.

Crystal Palace winger to cost £80m

Crystal Palace want £80m for Zaha according to Talksport. It is a large fee for a player that hasn’t been too prolific this season at Selhurst Park. Although Crystal Palace are doing well and could fight for a top-six finish, Zaha has only scored two goals and tallied two assists in 16 league matches.

The Crystal Palace winger has a contract at Selhurst Park until 2023. It would be the second big move of Zaha’s career if it does occur. Zaha signed for Manchester United in 2013 but returned to Crystal Palace 18 months later after a failed career at Old Trafford.

A move for Zaha could damage the progression of Callum Hudson-Odoi. The former Chelsea academy graduate broke into the first team last season before an Achilles injury curbed his rookie term. Hudson-Odoi hasn’t been the same this season failing to score in nine league appearances. He does have three assists. But Zaha’s arrival would limit his playing time.

Hudson-Odoi has been supplanted by summer arrival Christian Pulisic. The American has been hit and miss at times, but still contributed five goals and two assists in 15 Premier League fixtures.

Lampard did not appear to be a fan of Pulisic early in the season. The manager recently stated he “expects more from Pulisic”. Spending £80m on Zaha shows there is a lack of faith in the wide players Chelsea have currently.

On the way out?

Zaha’s arrival could see the exits of Willian and/or Pedro. Willian’s contract ends in the summer of 2020. The winger is said to be in contract talks with Chelsea despite Barcelona once again showing their interest. So, it looks as though the 31-year-old could remain at Stamford Bridge. Willian has tallied two goals and three assists in 15 league matches.

What about Pedro? Would Zaha replace the former Barcelona man? Pedro has played a mere four times for Lampard in the Premier League and his contract also expires in the summer

It was claimed the Blues wanted to “offload Olivier Giroud and Pedro” in November. It looks likely that Pedro could join Barcelona once more. Yet, that probably won’t happen until the summer when Barcelona can get him on a free transfer.

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish is open to a deal for Zaha but only for the right price. If Chelsea open the purse strings, Zaha could move to west London.