• Premier League

Man United front-runners for Zaha signature

ESPN staff
January 3, 2013
Wilfried Zaha has already impressed at Old Trafford © Getty Images

Manchester United feel they have moved ahead in the race for Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha and are fully confident of signing the forward in the summer, ESPN has learned.

Zaha's future has been the subject of great speculation lately, with United, Arsenal and - to a lesser extent - Tottenham chasing the widely admired prospect.

Although Arsenal have long been seen as favourites to eventually secure Zaha's signature, the player is understood to have had his head turned by United and, particularly, the current position in the table of the two clubs.

The Old Trafford side, meanwhile, have further leveraged the situation with some canny negotiating. A key in any transfer is that United are apparently more willing to let Zaha stay at Selhurst Park until the summer in order to help Palace secure promotion. By contrast, Arsenal have a greater need to reinforce immediately.

The situation tallies with the latest comments from Palace chairman Steve Parish on TalkSport, who said Zaha will stay at the club until the summer.

"Right now, we're concentrating on trying to get out of this league and the best way of doing that is adding to what we've got, not losing players," Parish said. "I think he will be a Palace player until the summer and then we will look at it. Obviously, we will look at anything that anybody offers us because we would be mad not to.

"If we feel we can move the club forward from doing certain things, then we will. So, never say never. But, right now, we are focused on trying to keep everyone in the squad."

Should the transfer happen, an Old Trafford source said it will finally end Nani's career at the club. Sir Alex Ferguson's relationship with the Portuguese has reached a low after a series of disagreements in the last year, and United have been open to offers - but only in the event they can bring in sufficient cover.

Had Lucas Moura signed last August, rather than go to Paris Saint-Germain, it would have seen Nani leave. Instead, the Brazilian's transfer may indirectly lead to Zaha coming to the club this summer.

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