Decision time for Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha edges ever closer. The Palace forward has put off signing a new contract and will rather wait until the end of the season to decide whether he will stay or go.

The Eagles would undoubtedly love to keep hold of their talisman, but he has been open in the past about his desire to play for a big club.

There have been fresh reports this week suggesting he will leave and Premier League leaders Arsenal, who he has been linked with plenty of times, is a club suggested.

So, let’s assess the current situation, as Zaha decides whether to stay at Crystal Palace beyond this season.

Firstly, the pros of staying.

This Crystal Palace squad is young and exciting

Crystal Palace are at the start of their journey in many ways.

They have a young manager who is only in his second full season in the Premier League, and have a squad with 11 players who are 25 or younger. All these things point to an exciting project, which if they are given time can become one that challenges for the league’s European spots.

Coupled with this Zaha is a senior player who has the power to help develop young wingers in Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise. These two players have shown their potential to be top players in the league, which will only be enhanced under Zaha’s guidance.

Therefore, at 30 he can stay and be a vital part of the process at Selhurst Park rather than leaving just as things get started.

The big move has probably passed Zaha by

Another factor that may convince Zaha to stay, is the question of where he would leave to. Champions League clubs probably do not see Zaha as a starting option anymore. This means Zaha may have to decide whether he wants to be the main man at Palace, or be resigned to a more bit part role elsewhere.

At this stage of a player’s career, game time is vital and he has shown himself to still be a fantastic Premier League player. This might entice other teams in the league to sign him on a free transfer, but no one will be able to guarantee him a spot like Palace would.

A big club taking the opportunity to sign him is not out of the question, but becomes increasingly unlikely in each passing season.


Now the cons of staying.

The team seems to be stalling somewhat

For all the excitement and potential in this squad, on-the-pitch progress seems to be stalling. Vieira secured a 12th place finish last season, and due to remaining winless in 2023, they do not look like they will improve on that this season.

They are struggling for goals, with Zaha still their top scorer despite missing parts of the season through injury. Summer investment might come too late to encourage Zaha that a long-term extension is the smartest career move.

Palace find themselves rooted between relegation strugglers and European contenders, which may be solid but may leave Zaha feeling unfulfilled.

He may feel his race is run at Palace

While the pros of having young wingers to mentor may be appealing for Zaha, it may also encourage him to seek a new challenge. With talent to come in, Zaha may see this as the ideal time to call it a day.

Wilfried Zaha is Palace’s all-time Premier League top-scorer, he has been an excellent servant for the club and if he is to leave at the end of this season he may already go down as a Palace legend.

This might all factor into his desire for a new challenge, knowing the club he loves has the players coming through to take the mantle on from him.