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'Zaha deserves to be at a top club' – Palace chairman promises to let star leave

The 26-year-old was left disappointed by his club’s refusal to sell him in the summer but the chairman will not stop him from leaving in January

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish says he will not prevent Wilfried Zaha from joining a top club in the next transfer window.

The 26-year-old forward was the subject of a £70 million ($85m) bid from Everton in the close-season and he submitted a transfer request to Palace in an attempt to force a move to Goodison Park, while Arsenal were also said to have put in a bid for him.

While Parish admits the Ivory Coast international is ready to shine at a higher level, he was not ready to let him go in the summer without finding a replacement first.

“I’m sure it has a happy ending for everybody,” Parish told The Daily Mail. “That’s what I want to generate and I’m sure we’ll make that happen.

“We’ve all been young, but the situation was not right for anybody this summer. You think at the time it is, but I wouldn’t put a cap on this kid’s talent. 

“I’ve watched him every week for 10 years, he scored the first goal in the first game after we bought the club when he was 16. So there’s even a bit of me that wants to see what he can do at a top club, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be the person who stopped that.

“I feel he deserves to get there, I hope it happens and sometimes it mystifies me he’s not up there already. I don’t know what he’s got to do – run the length of the pitch and beat four players? If people stood in my shoes having to replace him, trying to find someone in world football to do what he does, they would know.

“We’re lucky to have him. But if that top club comes along and the money’s right, he’s an extraordinary talent and it’s going to be very difficult for us.”

He added: ‘I’m here to do a job and my relationship with Wilfried has always recognised that. I’ve never asked him for a favour, he’s never asked me for one. It’s a professional relationship.

“It was just at that moment we weren’t aligned, but I’ll try to find a solution from here.

“Aaron Wan-Bissaka went to Manchester United, so if top clubs come in for our players with the right money, then it’s a timing issue.

“We have to make a plan for the evolution of our squad. Wilfried won’t be here forever, and we must be ready for him to go, if he does go. The last day of the transfer window, however, is not going to be it.”

Zaha, who scored 10 Premier League goals for Palace last season, is contracted to the club until 2023. 

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