The fears of Crystal Palace fans that Wilfried Zaha might have played his last game for the club against Bournemouth last Sunday appear justified, if a report in Thursday’s Daily Mail is to be believed. By their account, the 26-year-old winger has told the club’s owner, Steve Parish, that he wants to leave Selhurst Park for pastures new in order to play Champions League football. In an interview with the Mail last month, Zaha made his ambitions clear. “For me to be better, to achieve what I know I’m capable of, I have to aim to play at the very highest level, to win trophies,” he said. Potential suitors can initially expect to be charged up to £80m, a fee Zaha is concerned could price him out of the market. In speculation that could send Palace fans over the edge altogether, Manchester United are rumoured to be eyeing up their full-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Patrick van Aanholt.
United are also reported to be “closing in” on a deal for Swansea’s lightning fast midfielder Dan James. The 21-year-old, who had the plug pulled on a move to Leeds in the closing hours of deadline day in January, was still wanted at Elland Road but won’t be going there now Marcelo Bielsa’s side have been consigned to another year in the Championship after losing their play-off semi-final against Derby. United have also been repeatedly linked with a move for the Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, but the German club insist the 19-year-old, who is not particularly keen on joining a club in an apparent state of turmoil, is going nowhere. Due a major overhaul this summer, United have also held talks with Monterrey’s Mexican midfielder Carlos Rodríguez.
The Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt has caught the eye of Tottenham’s manager, Mauricio Pochettino, whose notoriously parsimonious boss Daniel Levy is likely to be more amenable to paying the £21m release clause on the 23-year-old’s contract when the alternative is taking a far more expensive punt on a certain injury-prone Welsh winger who is surplus to requirements at Real Madrid. Barcelona have decided to cash in their chips on Philippe Coutinho following the Brazilian’s underwhelming sojourn at the Camp Nou. Chelsea, Manchester United, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are forming an orderly queue for his services.
Following Gonzalo Higuain‘s failure to pull up any trees while on loan at Chelsea from Juventus, the Argentinian is likely to be sent back to Juventus. The future of Maurizio Sarri, the man who brought him to Stamford Bridge, also remains up in the air and the Italian could lose his job even if Chelsea win the Europa League. The Watford manager, Javier Gracia, is being considered as a potential replacement should Sarri be handed his P45. And finally, Rafael Benítez will hold talks with Mike Ashley about his future – or lack of one – at Newcastle on Thursday, while West Brom remain hopeful that Chris Hughton will take the vacant manager’s job at the Hawthorns.