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Zaha leaves door open to Palace exit after 'amazing' Arsenal interest

18:08 BST 06/06/2020
Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace Arsenal
The Crystal Palace winger admits that after missing out on a move to his boyhood idols he is still keen on making a fresh start

Wilfried Zaha admits that Arsenal's transfer interest last summer was “amazing”, while leaving open the possibility of leaving Crystal Palace in the near-future.

It appeared at one stage as though the Ivory Coast international would secure a dream move to Emirates Stadium, with the summer window of 2019 seeing him generate plenty of speculation.

The 27-year-old made no secret of the fact that he would welcome the opportunity to link up with the club that he supported as a boy.

Arsenal were, however, unable to thrash out a deal with their Premier League rivals and ended up making Zaha’s international team-mate Nicolas Pepe their £72 million ($87m) club-record signing.

Zaha, who previously struggled to produce his best when earning a move to Manchester United in 2013 could have been forgiven for feeling disappointed at missing out on another step up ladder – especially with his emotional ties to Arsenal taken into account.

But he accepts that the switch to north London was not meant to be.

He told Rio Ferdinand’s Locker Room show on YouTube of Arsenal’s interest: “It was nice. Supporting them and having them wanting you at the same time, leaves you thinking: 'this is amazing.'

“But things never worked out so you just have to move on as quick as possible. I was thinking this may happen. But my whole family was watching and it just didn't work out.”

While one route out of Selhurst Park may have been closed off to Zaha, he admits that personal ambition will ensure that he remains open to tempting offers from afar.

He added: “I'm 27, trophies is what it's all about.

“If there’s an opportunity to win trophies, then 100 per cent. That's 100 per cent what I want in my career and what I'm working towards.”

Zaha is also eager to remain an important figure in the Ivory Coast set-up, having switched international allegiance in 2017 after winning two caps for England following a discussion with Chelsea legend Didier Drogba.

“I feel like I wasn't given a really fair shot at the first team. I went through the age groups but then didn't really get a chance” Zaha said of his decision to shun the Three Lions.

“Then I spoke to Drogba and he explained to me what it felt like to play for the Ivory Coast.

“For one thing, it's Drogba calling you and he's explaining all these things to me. When they came to me I turned them down the first time because I wanted to play for England at the time.”