The January transfer window throws up many intriguing links between players and their potential Premier League suitors, and one rumour that remains as persistent as any is the possible sale by Crystal Palace of Wilfried Zaha.
Why Manchester United is the perfect club for Wilfried Zaha
Zaha’s name has been mentioned alongside both Manchester United and Arsenal in recent weeks, but surely a move to Old Trafford would be the perfect fit for the 20 year-old forward who recently made his senior England debut back in 2012. And here’s why.
Sir Alex Ferguson has a history of building Manchester United squads that mix youth and experience to perfection. In fact, he’s been doing it since the first Premier League trophy was lifted by the Red Devils back in 1993. Although we could talk about ‘Fergie’s Fledglings’ (aka Giggs, Beckham, Scholes, the Nevilles, and Butt) the potential signing of Zaha draws close comparisons with several previous signings, who all joined United at an early stage in their now glittering careers.
Perhaps the most notable example of such an acquisition was that of Roy Keane from relegated Nottingham Forest. Keane’s transfer fee – £3.75million – was a British transfer record at the time, and the Cork born midfielder was integrated into a United team featuring an ageing Bryan Robson, and tough tackling Paul Ince. Keane went on to make 37 league appearances in his debut season for the Reds, helping them to the league and FA Cup double in the 1993/94 season.
Cristiano Ronaldo signed for United as an 18 year-old in the summer of 2003 for £12.24million following the sale of David Beckham to Real Madrid. While Ronaldo requested the number 28 shirt which was his squad number at Sporting Lisbon, Sir Alex decided the number 7 shirt was more befitting of the Portuguese youngsters talents and Ronaldo began his Old Trafford career surrounded by the experience of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Ruud van Nistelrooy and went on to win the FA Cup in his first season, the UEFA Champions League in 2008 and three consecutive Premier League titles between 2006 and 2009.
Like Ronaldo, Rooney also moved to Old Trafford at the age of 18, joining a squad bursting at the seams with potential as well as proven ability in the summer transfer window of 2004. ‘Wazza’ as he’s known amongst the Old Trafford faithful is now in his ninth full season at the club, and has notched an impressive 190 goals thus far. United legend Sir Bobby Charlton has tipped Rooney to become the Red Devils top goalscorer of all time if he sees out the rest of his career in Manchester, as expected.
UNITED CREATE LEGENDS
In short, Sir Alex Ferguson creates club legends, whether it’s home grown talent such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes or David Beckham, or through signings like Roy Keane, Cristiano Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney. The 71 year-old is now integrating Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck into a team encompassing the experience of Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Giggs, Scholes, Carrick and Rooney, while Jonny Evans is somewhat of a veteran already despite his relatively young age.
WHY UNITED THEN?
What Wilfried Zaha must consider is which path suits him best, and a read of this article wouldn’t hurt if he’s struggling with his decision.
Although Arsenal is a club which has obvious appeal, and Arsene Wenger clearly growing a team with potential, they are still yet to reach their potential. Selling their experienced stars, including Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri et al clearly does not help their cause either.
United on the other hand, possess proven experience in developing squad after squad capable of competing at the very top of the English game. United are also able to hold on to their experienced players. Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Wayne Rooney have all been the emerging stars of the past, and can pass their priceless experience on to Zaha. Giggs rolled back the years against West Ham earlier this week, and should be the blueprint of what a player like Wilfried Zaha can achieve during a career at Old Trafford.
Another argument for Zaha choosing United is that they have historically always used wingers. Although there is competition for places from Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Nani in wide areas, Sir Alex will give Zaha games. The Palace youngster has skill in abundance, power and pace. And who’s to say that Sir Alex, or his successor won’t eventually help transform Zaha into an out and out striker one day? After all, Cristiano Ronaldo started out on the wing.
Do you think he would be good at United?
Watch a video of Wilfried Zaha’s skills
This article was written by Chris Holmes, author of Transfer News blog PremierLeagueTransfers.net. Visit the website to read more on the January transfer window and confirmed signings.