Wilfried Zaha has rejoined Crystal Palace on a season-long loan deal with a view to a permanent move at the end of the season.
The ex-Palace winger joined Manchester United for £15M in January 2013 before being immediately loaned back to the club to help them in their push for promotion. He ultimately helped the club reach their goal, turning in a Man of the Match performance in the Wembley final as Palace won 1-0 thanks to an extra-time goal from verteran Kevin Phillips.
Zaha joined United and impressed on the pre-season tour under David Moyes, even starting in the Community Shield at Wembley before being substituted. The winger then made just four further appearances for the club, all as a substitute, before he was loaned out to Cardiff as they were relegated from the Premier League.
Zaha returned to Old Trafford this summer, stating it was a “clean slate” and he wanted to prove himself at the 20 times Champions. However Louis Van Gaal’s change to 3-4-1-2 has seen the club ditch it’s wingers, leaving Zaha in limbo. Van Gaal tested Zaha as a striker in the new system during the pre-season tour of America, however Zaha was unimpressive and with Van Gaal needing to trim his squad down to around 20 players, the decision was made to let Zaha go.
Sources say that Zaha’s loan deal is with an option to buy the winger should the south-London club maintain their Premier League status under new manager Neil Warnock and it is understood that the fee would be in the region of £10M, which would represent a loss for Manchester United after just one year at Old Trafford.
Zaha confirmed the deal himself on Twitter before later deleting the tweet.Upon confirmation of the deal, Wilfried Zaha revealed he was “buzzing” to be back at the club he made his name at.
“I’m just buzzing to be back, to be in and around the lads again. There have been rumours for a while, but it was only yesterday that it got sorted out and I was happy it got sorted out ASAP because I just need to get out and play.
The best place to come back to is Palace where I am loved. Speaking to my family and my agent, they knew I would be comfortable coming back here because I’ve got the support of the fans and the club. When I come back here I know I can just get straight back into it.
The winger also spoke highly of his parent club, revealing he hopes to return to Old Trafford next season a better player.
“It’s a great club, but since I’ve gone up there it hasn’t gone my way really. I haven’t really had the chance to showcase my talent or play much – that’s why I thought it would be best for me to get a loan, gain some experience and maybe go back a better player.
It was an enormous experience and obviously the players that I have trained with and spoken to have helped me a lot like Giggsy, Robin [van Persie] and Rooney. Speaking to people like that is always going to help me in my career.
Robin gives me tips on how to finish and who else is better than Robin when it comes to finishing! Just seeing them and being with them in training I think has developed me even more.”