Roy Hodgson has reiterated Wilfried Zaha is not for sale but conceded the Crystal Palace hierarchy would have to consider serious offers for their prized asset in January.
Zaha, who submitted a transfer request in the summer amid interest from Arsenal and Everton, is among Chelsea’s primary transfer targets next month. Palace are loth to lose the forward and Hodgson is determined to strengthen his squad when the transfer window reopens on Wednesday.
Zaha’s contract runs to the 2023 season and Palace, who have set his asking price at £80m, are adamant they will not listen to offers below their valuation. Asked whether he has had any assurances that the 27-year-old will not be sold in January, Hodgson replied: “Well, Wilf is not for sale, so basically I don’t need assurances. We aren’t trying to sell Wilfried Zaha, we want to keep Wilfried Zaha. I have the assurance there is no one in the club that wants to sell Wilfried Zaha, but of course you never know where bids are going to come from and I suppose every time there is a serious bid for one of your players the board of directors needs to take it seriously.
“It’s certainly not something we’re looking for and, by the same token, everyone at the club is aware we need strengthening, we need some help in terms of our group of players because there are certain areas we don’t have the cover or competition we need.
“And I believe they will be trying to help put that right too, but if you say, ‘have you got assurances?’ Well you can’t get assurances unfortunately, you can only get people agreeing with you that this is what needs to be done and this should be the next step for us going forward. And then hope that it leads to some players coming through the door that you want, that will make your squad stronger, increase the competition and, most importantly, perhaps prevent us finding ourselves in the current situation.”
Palace, who are determined to add four or five new players in January owing to injuries to seven first-team players, have identified Burnley’s Dwight McNeil and Brentford’s Ollie Watkins as potential replacements for Zaha.
Palace, who drew 1-1 at Southampton on Saturday, visit Norwich City on Wednesday. “We’ll have a lot of respect for Norwich and the way they play,” Hodgson said. “They find themselves at the wrong end of the table but I have seen on many occasions watching them play that their passing quality and movement is better than many other teams above them in the league.”