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Zaha: the really worrying side about his move to Arsenal

By Sir Hardly Anyone

Today we hear that Arsenal have offered £40m for Zaha and Palace value him at £90m.   And the Daily Express tells us that Ray Parlour “wants Wilfried Zaha over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Man Utd eye Gunners ace”.  The reason is because Abua is now 30 and so, it seems, of less interest.  Even if he just comes on as an impact substitute and scores, it seems, a winger for £90m is a better deal than Auba!

It is just one of the many strange stories we hear at the moment.  For it was getting on for a week ago that the Daily Canon dismissed any notion that we might buy Zaha, saying…

“Arsenal are looking for a wide player and had been interested in Wilfried Zaha or Ryan Fraser. No Champions League football has put pay to signing either of those so they are looking for a cheaper alternative and Florian Thauvin’s name popped up despite Marseille reportedly wanting €50m for him.”

So were they right?  Was there never any chance of getting Zaha?   Or have Arsenal really bid £40m.

Certainly not everyone agreed that the deal was off several weeks ago, for at the same time as the Canon was reporting “no deal” the Mail was running the headline, “Wilfried Zaha pleads with Crystal Palace to let him join Arsenal – the club he supported.”

Anyway, would we really spend all the budget on one guy, and then wait for sales of other players to go through before having a penny more to spend on anyone?  It appears a bit risky.  But maybe Arsenal are sure the deal will be turned down and so are encouraging it to deflect from a deal they are really doing.  Or maybe despite everyone running the story, maybe it is still just a fantasy.

But for the moment with even the BBC saying on this morning’s radio that we have made a bid of £40m while Palace want more than double, no one is really questioning if any of this is true or if the player is worth this much.

Yet there is much to question.  Here are the Zaha figures

Season Team Games Goals
2010–2013 Crystal Palace 110 12
2013–2015 Manchester United 2 0
2013 Crystal Palace (loan) 16 1
2014 Cardiff City (loan) 12 0
2014–2015 Crystal Palace (loan) 16 1
2015– Crystal Palace 147 31

Now looking at those moves back and forth after the Man U trip, I am reminded of the Canon’s story about Florian Thauvin.  He is 26.  He is a winger, he has played for Marseille, gone to Newcastle, only played 13 games, gone back to Marseille on loan, and then signed again for Marseille.   I suppose he found the Newcastle night life a bit too soft for his taste.

But it is funny how both players could not make it at their new club, and so went back to the old one.  A coincidence?  Or is it all just make-believe?  Or should we be careful of players with a history of not settling down.

To look at that question let’s go back to Zaha and how he went to Man U and played two games.

In relation to his time at Man U, Zaha said that he suffered from depression.   Now this is a debilitating illness that affects a substantial minority of the population in England, and one of the big challenges about it is that it is very hard to deal with.   It is possible to take medication, but that can easily affect the player’s ability to play.  And it is an illness that can easily return, even when it has been treated and removed.

Which makes it a problem for a top footballer which is just as bad – or indeed worse – than any recurrent physical injury.

Zaha was the final signing by Sir Alex Ferguson.  The player was 19 and was given a five-and-a-half-year contract.  But then along came David Moyes.  Zaha played in the Community Shield under Moyes, and then just two Premier League games as a substitute before being shipped out on loan the following January.

When he finally went back to Palace he helped them avoid relegation, and has since commented that life in Manchester was hell.  Something I am sure many of us could sympathise with.

He also said, “There were rumours that the reason I wasn’t playing for United was because I slept with David Moyes’s daughter, and no one attempted to clear that up. So I was fighting my demons by myself, these rumours that I knew weren’t true.

“I was dealing with this at 19; living in Manchester by myself, nowhere near anyone else, because the club had a hold over where I lived. They hadn’t given me a car, like every other player. Nothing. I’m living in this hell by myself, away from my family…  I had money but I was still so down and depressed. People think your life’s different because you’ve got money, you’ve got fame, so they don’t treat you the same.”

Quite why Zaha could not deal with that situation by making friends at the club, working with the club’s PR department, and the club psychologist to help him, or anything else is not explained.  Certainly the club must have had an interest in making Zaha mentally fit… but maybe that is part of Man U’s (or Moyes’) problem.  Maybe they just say “toughen yourself up” and that’s that.  It would be rather stupid, but maybe that is how Man U is run.

But that was some years ago and maybe Zaha has changed now he is a big star at Palace.   But here’s another thought.   Until the Zaha story broke, virtually every newspaper, TV station, radio station and blog was saying that Arsenal needed three defenders if we are even to stay in the top six.  So if we spend £40m (let along £90m) on a winger, where does that leave us with the search for three defenders?

I have never agreed we do need three defenders; but my point is different.   How come everyone seems to have dropped the defender idea and started getting excited about Zaha?  Is it so that

a) if Zaha doesn’t come they can blame Arsenal for being meek and not being bold enough to sign the player?

b) if Zaha does come they can blame Arsenal for being so dumb as to fail to realise that we didn’t need a winger we needed three defenders?

c) Or is it all a ploy by Arsenal to deflect attention from the real deal that is happening elsewhere which all the rather silly and shallow journalists have fallen for?

We shall see.

11 comments to Zaha: the really worrying side about his move to Arsenal

  • Bernard

    You must add to Zaha’s goal tally the number of Penalties he’s obtained by diving.

  • nicky

    @Sir Hardly,
    Re your excellent post, I like your (c) above.
    It’s happened so many times in Arsenal’s history.

  • jod

    Not sure how many defenders Arsenal need but the defence is a mess. You can perhaps compare the situation to when Klopp took over at Liverpool. He had a team that was great going forward and could score for fun but with a defence like a wet paper bag. He solved that by selling Coutinho, not replacing him, and spending the £120m on the defence (primarily on Van Dijk). Seems to me Arsenal are in a similar situation, plenty of firepower but letting far too many in. So why you would be after Zaha when you have limited funds baffles me. On his day he can be brilliant, but he doesn’t have enough of those days and he’s not going to do anything to cut down on the goals going in at the other end.

  • goonersince72

    Sir Hardly

    “Anyway, would we really spend all the budget on one guy, and then wait for sales of other players to go through before having a penny more to spend on anyone? It appears a bit risky. But maybe Arsenal are sure the deal will be turned down and so are encouraging it to deflect from a deal they are really doing. Or maybe despite everyone running the story, maybe it is still just a fantasy.”

    Absolutely, positively, the nail has been hit on the head. Thanks for that.

  • goonersince72

    Gord

    Ha ha ha. thank you so much. Hadn’t checked your link until after my post but now I can’t stop laughing. An 18 kid you never heard of is getting the splash you’d expect for a Ronaldo, Brasilian or Portuguese. If other readers haven’t been to the AFC site it’s worth a look if you need a laugh. And omgarsenal, if you’ve seen it, this is exactly what I mean about the lying ownership. Sir Hardly! This could be the secret deal they were deflecting attention from. You can’t make it up, lol. In any case, COYG, whoever you are!

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Whatever be the case as Arsenal moves further forward in the transfer market this summer window after completing the signing of the Brazilian starlet Gabriel Martinelli for £6m. Who hopefully could turnout to be either the retired famous Brazilian footballer Ronaldo or the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo for Arsenal. Hmmm.

    Anyway, considering Arsenal transfer budget this summer window is presently stood at £48.5m after selling David Ospina to Napoli this summer. And haven spent £6m out of the £48.5m to sign Martinelli, a balance of £42.5m is left in the club’s transfer kitty until some Gunners are sold which will see the transfer kitty increased.

    Nevertheless, doubtfully, Arsenal could sign Zaha from Crystal Palace this summer if he’s so needed at the club. But until Arsenal sold a Gunner who commands a large amount of money in transfer fee paid to Arsenal, say for instance, PEA before Arsenal can sign Zaha.

    But why will Arsenal sell Aubameyang for say over £70m to a top Premier League club side or a Chinese Super League club only to end up spending a large chunk of the money to sign Zaha. Doing that by Arsenal will amount to incoming transfer insanity in my opinion. But does my opinion count at Arsenal? Zaha is not a top regular many PL goals scorer and many assist giver even at Crystal Palace where he’s currently playing.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Whatever be the case as Arsenal moves further forward in the transfer market this summer window after completing the signing of the Brazilian starlet Gabriel Martinelli for £6m. Who hopefully could turnout to be either the retired famous Brazilian footballer Ronaldo or the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo for Arsenal. Hmmm.

    Anyway, considering Arsenal transfer budget this summer window that presently stood at £48.5m after selling David Ospina to Napoli this summer. And haven spent £6m out of the £48.5m to sign Martinelli, a balance of £42.5m is left in the club’s transfer kitty until some Gunners are sold which will see the transfer kitty increased.

    Nevertheless, doubtfully, Arsenal could sign Zaha from Crystal Palace this summer if he’s so needed at the club. But until Arsenal sold a Gunner who commands a large amount of money in transfer fee paid to Arsenal, say for instance, PEA before Arsenal can sign Zaha.

    But why will Arsenal sell Aubameyang for say over £70m to a top Premier League club side or a Chinese Super League club only to end up spending a large chunk of the money to sign Zaha? Doing that by Arsenal will amount to incoming transfer insanity in my opinion. But does my opinion count at Arsenal? Zaha is not a top regular many PL goals scorer and many assist giver even at Crystal Palace where he’s currently playing.

  • omgarsenal

    Goonersince72….what part of us bringing in an 18 year old is proof that our owners lie? Here are the questions you SHOULD be asking at this moment;

    1) Is this the last signing we’ll make…..if so, many of us will be surprised but not disappointed,

    2) If this was a red herring, it has been well planned, as they b egan talking about us getting Martinelli for over 4 weeks.

    3) Why the unrelenting negativity and sarcasm about a new signing, regardless of whether he’s a proven ¨star¨ as the media like to repeat, or a neophyte with sufficient skill to get into the Brazilian team (no mean feat)?

    If you’re such a magnificient supporter, then show us by reserving your caustic criticism and biding your time like we all do.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Welcome , Gabriel Martinelli to the Arsenal . This looks like a shrewd investment for the future . Hope he becomes a valuable asset for us.

    And seeing that he has already been called to the BRAZILIAN first squad, I am of course assuming that they too rate him highly. I probably would pooh pooh this if he was from one one of the home countries , as they are all crap.

    For me Zaha , may not be worth it , as with his constant ‘going to ground’ when tackled or breathed upon , will surely get him booked or sent off frequently . Am basing this assumption sorely on the PIGMOB’s love for us !

    But an addition of an old head like Cahill may give us some good cover in defence . Especially on a free transfer .And he has learned enough of the dark arts to add some steel and cynicism to our play.

  • goonersince72

    omgarsenal

    Firstly, why the personal criticism? And what exactly is “a magnificent supporter” that you claim I think I am? Secondly, why the attempt to silence my opinion and what gives you the right? Seems you might have a “magnificent” opinion of your own importance to the Arsenal/Untold Arsenal world.

    To the facts: AFC just made an overly hyped announcement of the signing of an 18 year old whose name hasn’t exactly been on the lips of world football. As a supporter, of course I hope he comes good. However, in this window, at this juncture of reality v. the expectations of the fans, when we’re all wondering how the Club can improve without much money to work with, they give us “WELCOME TO ARSENAL, GABRIEL MARTINELLI”. And, I’m not joking, “Lights, camera, action/Gabriel Martinelli’s first day”.
    All the trappings of a major, big name signing without the big name. Joke. More over the top than the signings of Ozil and Sanchez, without the CV.

    And, by the way, I won’t be minding your directive to reserve my caustic criticism. Only Tony Attwood has editorial authority on this site.

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