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'Zaha would relish a move' - Ex-Arsenal target still eager 'to find pastures new', admits Palace boss Hodgson

11:30 GMT 25/07/2020
Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace
The Eagles head coach does not know for certain if the Ivory Coast international will still be plying his trade at Selhurst Park next season

Roy Hodgson has admitted that Wilfried Zaha "would relish a move" away from Crystal Palace, with the former Arsenal target still eager to "find some pastures new" after being denied a transfer last year.

Zaha returned to Palace for a second spell back in 2015 following an ill-fated three-year stint at Manchester United, and has since rebuilt his damaged reputation by becoming one of the most effective attacking players outside of the top six.

The 2018-19 campaign saw the Ivorian take his game to new heights, as he posted career-high tallies of 10 goals and 10 assists to help the Eagles finish in mid-table.

The 27-year-old caught the eye of a number of top clubs with his performances, including Arsenal, whom he publicly admitted to supporting in his youth while addressing speculation over his future.

The Gunners had identified Zaha as a priority target before the opportunity to sign Nicolas Pepe presented itself, and the winger was ultimately left in limbo after they forked out a club-record fee of £72 million ($92m) to sign a fellow countryman from Lille.

Transfer rumours surrounding the Palace star have since died down significantly, but Hodgson has now revealed that an influential figure remains determined to seek a new challenge.

When asked if Zaha will still be an Eagles player next season, the 72-year-old manager told a press conference: “That’s the $64,000 question isn’t it? But it’s not just Wilf Zaha – there’s players in every club that come into that category.

“Wilf has made it clear, ever since I came to the club really, that he would relish a move and would like to move on and find some pastures new.

“But he’s a very valuable player and the club realises his value and appreciates his value and so really everything will depend I guess  – as it always does – [on] what sort of offers the club is going to receive for him and how they will equate that with the need to keep him or the need, maybe, to satisfy his wishes, and allow him to go after giving good service to the club for a period of time.

“Quite frankly, I’ve got no answer to that question, it will be all a matter, I guess, of seeing what transpires.”

Zaha was reportedly being valued at around £80 million ($102m) when Arsenal were pursuing him last summer, and Hodgson doesn't see any reason for his price tag to drop when the transfer window reopens.

“I think he should [be worth the same amount], because he’s a very top-quality player,” the Palace head coach added.

“But, as I say, that will be a decision and matter anyway for [chairman] Steve Parish and the other owners of the club.

“They will have to take any offers into consideration and I’m pretty certain that I will be consulted. At the end of the day the final decision will have to be a club one.”