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Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha would be an underwhelming signing for Liverpool

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Photo: Getty Images.

Liverpool have become the latest top six club to be linked with Crystal Palace ace Wilfried Zaha as the Liverpool Echo included the Reds as one of many sides believed to be chasing the Ivory Coast winger.

However, if the club do make a move for the 25-year-old, it would show a lack of ambition after what many have perceived to be a season of progress as Liverpool have reached the Champions League final whilst retaining their top four spot.

On paper, a wideman with strength and pace who scores goals would be ready-made for Jurgen Klopp’s attacking set-up and could provide a much needed rotation option alongside the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane up-front.

Despite that, it would be a huge gamble to invest in Zaha. One reason for that is that he has showed his best form at Selhurst Park in the second half of 2017/18 as Roy Hodgson gave the winger a free role in attack, allowing him freedom to switch between flanks and centrally in a number ten role.

(during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on March 31, 2018 in London, England.

At Anfield, Zaha would not possess such an option, and if he tried to maintain many of the key traits of his game of cutting inside and drifting around near the opposition box, he would be standing on the toes of established regulars like Salah and Firmino.

Then there is the concern over Zaha’s ability to adapt. His previous spell at Manchester United hinted at the fact that he has struggled with the associated pressure of being at a big club like Liverpool or their north-western rivals, which will be a concern for any club paying the astronomical transfer fee that Crystal Palace would demand for his services.

The winger has undoubted potential, but as Champions League finalists and with money to spend, Liverpool can afford to go after established stars rather than taking expensive gambles on unproven men who have a history of inconsistency.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

Chelsea

Crystal Palace’s hopes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek return boosted after latest comments

The midfielder is unlikely to get what he’s after at his parent club.

Jamie Watts

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek has boosted Crystal Palace‘s hopes of securing his services for another season, after claiming he will only remain with Chelsea this summer if guaranteed a regular first-team spot at Stamford Bridge next season, in quotes via Sky Sports.

The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Selhurst Park after making just 31 appearances for Chelsea since his debut in 2014, and his immense talents have earned him a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad this World Cup.

Photo: Getty Images

“I want to play as much as I can,” revealed Loftus-Cheek. “Even this past season just gone, I didn’t play as much as I would have liked because of injuries. So I still feel I need a proper season of playing, wherever it is.”

Loftus-Cheek made 25 appearances for Roy Hodgson’s outfit last term, and is still unhappy with the amount of minutes he managed, so it’s pretty safe to assume Chelsea – given the disastrous domestic season they’ve just had – won’t be bettering his previous return, or be prioritising taking chances on academy products next season.

And Palace will be keen to offer the stylish midfielder a deal to extend his stay with the former England manager, where, if available, he will continue to be considered one of the first names on the team-sheet.

Photo: Getty Images

Palace are likely to face competition from rival clubs though, as Loftus-Cheek is emerging as a star on the biggest stage of all in Russia; having flourished in his brief cameo against Tunisia. And he’s now considered likely to start against Panama, with Dele Alli nursing a slight injury.

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Barcelona

Tottenham round up: Jordi Alba emerges as target, huge blow in pursuit of Wilfried Zaha

A round-up of the day’s most interesting stories surrounding Tottenham

Jamie Watts

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Danny Rose replacement?

Barcelona’s star left-back Jordi Alba has emerged as a Tottenham target today, according to reports from SPORT.

Alba is currently away with the Spainish national team in Russia, and movement on negotiations is likely to be minimal while it remains that way. But, it seems Mauricio Pochettino could be plotting an audacious swoop for the 29-year-old.

Perhaps the club would be better served to stick with the now first team regular Ben Davies, especially when considering reports of £130 million as a buy-out clause for Alba – with his current contract running until 2020.

Photo: Getty Images

Wilfried Zaha pursuit all but finished

Long-spanning target Wilfried Zaha is reportedly nearing a contract extension with Crystal Palace, according to reports from the Express.

Pochettino was said to be chasing the Ivorian until deterred by Palace’s hefty £70 million valuation of the player, revealed earlier this month (Evening Standard). And now it seems as though the Eagles are edging closer to securing their star-man’s future at Selhurst Park.

The Daily Mirror are suggesting the club have even gone as for as to better Tottenham’s weekly-wage offer for the 27-year-old.

Photo: Getty Images

Lyon business significant?

Tottenham Hotspur’s move for Tanguy Ndombele (L’Equipe) may have inched a step closer, with Lyon now seemingly looking for his replacement.

Le 10 Sport in France have reported that Lyon are on discussions to sign Jean-Eudes Ahoulou from Strasbourg. Ahoulou, like Dembele, is a defensive midfielder who possesses great energy and tackling skill and his arrival at Lyon would surely free up Ndombele.

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Chelsea

Crystal Palace should plot audacious loan move for Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi

Crystal Palace should act on the latest reports from Germany.

Jamie Watts

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Photo: Getty Images

Chelsea‘s resurgent striker Michy Batshuayi is back to playing the football that garnered interest from Stamford Bridge last summer. The then-defending champions signed the Belgian international for £33 million, but he was eventually loaned out to Borussia Dortmund in January, after failing to break into the first team in west London.

The 24-year-old instantly hit the ground running in the Bundesliga, bagging an impressive seven goals in 10 league appearances – having scored just two in 12 for Chelsea that term – and he’s also performing well for Belgium when Romelu Lukaku isn’t spearheading the side.

Dortmund are unlikely to sign the striker on a permanent deal this summer, according to reports from Sport Bild, as the German giants look to land a worldy striker to succeed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, which means he’ll likely be resigned to a bit-part role at Stamford Bridge.

Photo: Getty Images

Crystal Palace should make an audacious swoop to land Batshuayi on loan this summer, in their quest for attacking reinforcements if he returns to the Premier League.

The Eagles are in serious need of attacking reinforcements this summer, having flirted with relegation under the winless tenure of ex-boss Frank de Boer, but Wilfried Zaha’s timely return from a long-term injury rejuvenated the squad and Roy Hodgson eventually cemented an 11th place finish.

With Christian Benteke’s slump in form – registering a meagre Premier League three goals – Hodgson will have to ensure the side have more goals in them next term, and signing his fellow countryman would be a fantastic coup.

Photo: Getty Images

The prospect of Batshuayi and Zaha spearheading the attack would be a frightening prospect for any Premier League defence, and Palace need to ensure they have depth in-case their top scorer should face another lengthy stint away from the pitch. Chelsea are under pressure to succeed next term after a disastrous season, and play-time for the Belgian won’t be high on their list of priorities.

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