DUE NORTH: Zaha, right, in action for Palace against Hull City
IN THE next 48 hours Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha is expected to join Premier League leaders Manchester United. The 20-year-old attacker is set to undergo a medical with the 19-time league champions, and then sign a five-and-a-half year contract – his transfer fee costing United £15m.
Zaha will be loaned straight back to Palace, rejoining United in the summer.
Reports suggest Sir Alex Ferguson’s club will pay an initial £10m for the player; but another £5m could be added to the south London team’s coffers depending on Zaha’s appearances and success with his new side.
Zaha has made one appearance for Roy Hodgson’s England, making his senior debut in a friendly against Sweden last year. The England boss is expected to call upon his services again for the exhibition match in February versus Brazil – part of the FA’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
United’s latest addition joined Palace as a 12-year-old; since coming through the ranks at Selhurst Park Zaha has managed 15 goals in 124 appearances. He made his debut for the Eagles in March 2010 against Cardiff.
Ferguson has been significantly involved in the negotiations, having remained in England while his team have been in Qatar for a training camp.
Much is expected of Zaha – who can play out wide or as centre-forward – yet his statistics show is not yet prolific in front of goal, having averaged a goal every 8.3 games during his Palace career.