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Roy Hodgson’s comments on Wilfried Zaha offer hope for Palace fans

Max Cohen

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zaha
Photo: Getty Images

Wilfried Zaha is coming off a superb recent spell of form for Crystal Palace, after being named Premier League Player of the Month for April, while bagging four goals and an assist in the process.

Yet, worryingly for Palace supporters, Zaha is constantly linked with a summer move away from Selhurst Park.

This week reports in the Mirror claim that Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal, and Chelsea are all vying to sign the Ivory Coast international.

However, comments made during Roy Hodgson’s Friday afternoon press conference revealed that these rumours are fanciful at best, as the Eagles manager expects Zaha to remain in SE25.

“This is where he belongs. This is his club. He knows how much we and the fans value him,” Hodgson said. “I don’t blame other clubs for coveting him. He is ours and I still believe he will be when the season begins.”

(Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Hodgson seems convinced Zaha will make the correct decision and stay at Selhurst Park, where he is truly loved by the fans and has enjoyed his career’s best moments.

The 25-year-old winger must heed his manager’s faith and ignore the Premier League big boys.

Moving to the clubs that are reportedly chasing the Ivorian would represent a step back in his career, as he would travel to a hostile environment where playing time would be at a minimum.

The best choice for Zaha would be to stick with the Eagles and propel the south London club up the Premier League table. Backed by the brilliant Hodgson, who has engineered perhaps the greatest turnaround in Premier League history, Palace could challenge for the Europa League places next season.

Hodgson’s confident stance will be massively reassuring for the Palace faithful, as his belief that Zaha will remain an Eagle next season provides a huge boost for the club’s summer.

And a cryptic tweet from the player’s official account perhaps hints at a renewed contract at Selhurst Park.

Max is a journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football and co-hosts a weekly podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace fans should praise Roy Hodgson’s defiant Andros Townsend comments

The winger has been attracting interest from Premier League rivals.

Max Cohen

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Andros Townsend
Photo: Getty Images

In early July, Sky Sports reported Newcastle United were in talks with Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend over a return to St. James’ Park.

Yet, Roy Hodgson’s defiant comments have quashed those rumours and will be greeted by Palace fans as a strong signal to other clubs who have aimed to buy the Eagles’ best players.

Speaking in a press conference (h/t football.london) over the weekend, the Palace manager made it clear he had no intention of selling his key squad members.

“[Townsend] has got three years on his contract, and we have no interest at all in selling Andros Townsend. We are not a selling club at the moment, far from it.

“We are working very hard to keep the players we have got, and players of big importance, and Zaha and Townsend are right up there as players we want to keep.”

(Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Hodgson deserves praise for this strong stance, as he is sending a clear signal to rival clubs who aim to pinch settled players.

Townsend was crucial to the club’s resurgence last season under Roy Hodgson, and after Bakary Sako’s departure, the need to hold on to attackers is even more important.

By rebutting the advances of Newcastle and clubs interested in Wilfried Zaha, Hodgson not only boosts the confidence of the fans, but also the Palace players.

Knowing that your club aims to hold on to your fellow teammates means the side will be better and more exciting to play for.

Hodgson has already saved Crystal Palace from relegation, and now his stewardship can lead the club to the top half of the Premier League by keeping hold of the Eagles’ star performers.

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Crystal Palace

One winner and one loser as Bakary Sako rejects new Crystal Palace contract

The 30-year-old has rejected a new deal at Selhurst Park.

Max Cohen

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Bakary Sako
Photo: Getty Images

Earlier this week, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson confirmed that winger Bakary Sako had rejected a new contract at the club.

The news came as a shock for many supporters, as Sako enjoyed a bright 2017/18 season at Selhurst Park and the club wanted to secure his services for the immediate future.

Sako is set to lose out from rejecting a new contract at the Premier League club, but one player who could be poised to benefit is rumoured transfer target Ollie Watkins.

Winner: Ollie Watkins 

According to The Sun, the 22-year-old Brentford winger has been linked with an eight million pound switch to south London, and Palace will be sure to pursue his signature even more vigorously after losing out on Sako.

Watkins is a dangerous winger who impressed last season at Griffin Park, scoring ten goals and notching five assists in 45 appearances for the Championship club.

A move to the Premier League beckons for the exciting winger, and due to Sako’s rejection of his contract, Watkins is set to benefit and could fill the Malian’s void.

(during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Burnley at Selhurst Park on January 13, 2018 in London, England.

Loser: Bakary Sako 

Just as teammate Yohan Cabaye bafflingly failed to extend his contract at Selhurst Park, Bakary Sako is set to make the same misguided decision.

At 30 years of age, few Premier League clubs are set to offer the Malian international a chance to play at the highest level. Palace had gifted Sako with a perfect opportunity to play more years in the top flight, but Sako turned them down.

His decision is especially confusing given the good form Sako had last season, scoring crucial goals against WatfordLeicesterBurnley, and Brighton from December to January before succumbing to injury.

A fan favourite at Selhurst Park, Sako will be missed both on and off the pitch, making his departure all the more foolish.

 

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Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace flop Steve Mandanda into World Cup final

The Frenchman played in the group stage against Denmark.

Mathew Nash

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France are into the World Cup final after defeating Belgium in the semi-finals last night. Les Bleus won 1-0 thanks to a header from Samuel Umtiti and will now face England or Croatia in the final.

Amongst the celebrations, Crystal Palace fans certainly noticed one face above others. Steve Mandanda was one of the first to run onto the pitch and celebrate with his team-mates.

The 33-year-old could now find himself winning a World Cup winner’s medal, two years after joining Palace and flopping at Selhurst Park.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Mandanda arrived on a free transfer from Marseille in July 2016 as he wanted a change after nine years at the Stade Velodrome.

But his time at Palace was a disaster, despite his previous heroics in Ligue 1. Mandanda played just 10 times for Palace, keeping one clean sheet, before having to undergo a knee operation in November. His last appearance came in a 3-2 loss to Burnley in November 2016 and did not play again for the Eagles.

Instead, he returned to Marseille last summer in a protracted deal that left Mandanda disappointed.


“Leaving Crystal Palace? Yes, it was hell.”

– Steve Mandanda on Crystal Palace exit


He went on to play 45 times last season, helping Marseille to the Europa League final. This is his fifth major tournament with the French national team and he even played against Denmark in the group stage.

Crystal Palace were right to make a move for Mandanda and he might have finally solved their goalkeeping problems. However, it never happened for him in London and Palace fans will be shocked to see him on the verge of a World Cup medal. Unless, England have anything to say about it.

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