Wilfried Zaha admits that the summer transfer speculation was a big distraction but he is now getting on with the job of playing football for Crystal Palace. The 26-year-old returned to Selhurst Park for a second stint in August 2014 and has been one of the Eagles most influential players during the past five years but it seemed as though his days at the club might be numbered during the off-season.
Both Arsenal and Everton had big-money bids rejected for the Ivory Coast international and he reluctantly remained in south London.
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The former Manchester United player did not quite seem himself early in the campaign but has featured in all eight of Palace’s top-flight fixtures, starting seven, and has already put in some solid displays.
The African ace has yet to score but the goals will inevitably come as the season progresses, with Zaha bagging 10 in 2018-2019.
It would have been easy for the winger to down tools and refuse to play but, while admitting that it was a tough summer, he prefers to let his football do the talking. “I’ve got to prove every time that I’m the top player I claim to be so I had to get over that quickly,” he told BBC Africa. “Obviously my head was a bit all over the place at the beginning of the season but I had to nail down and just get on with it because the team deserved that.”
Roy Hodgson’s side have made an excellent start to proceedings, with four wins and two draws from eight games seeing them sit in sixth place in the top-flight standings – just two points behind champions Manchester City.
It remains to be seen if clubs come back in for Zaha during the January window or next summer but, for now, he is “not thinking about anything else and just taking each day as it comes”.