Wilfried Zaha has penned a new five-year contract at Crystal Palace worth £130,000 per week, making him the highest-paid player at the club.
It comes after Palace staved off strong interest from both Tottenham and Chelsea, who couldn’t stump up the £70million it would have taken to prise him away from Selhurst Park.
But amid the furore surrounding his future, Zaha has repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment to Palace and has been rewarded with a bumper new deal.
I just wanted to get it over and done with so I can focus on the season,’ Zaha said after signing the new deal. ‘I’m buzzing I managed to get it sorted.
‘I’ve always had faith in the team and the players who have come in have made us even stronger and it’s nice to start off with a win.’
He then took to Twitter to write: ‘South London and proud. Very happy to sign a new contract with @CPFC.’
Zaha will see his weekly wage rise £20,000 from £110,000 — which was the joint-highest alongside Christian Benteke — making him the highest-paid player outright.
Chairman Steve Parish was delighted to tie up a man who returned to the club in a permanent switch in February 2015.
Speaking to Palace TV, chairman Steve Parish said: ‘It’s absolutely fantastic for the football club. We’re all so committed this year to giving it our best shot, and this is the final piece of the jigsaw.
‘It’s nice to put all those stories to bed – stories that we knew weren’t true and were just rumour-mongering. Wilfried the player that we’ve seen all summer has done everything properly and right.
‘He’s shown the respect he’s got for this football club, and he should be applauded for that with all the noise that was going on around him. Today, we’ve settled everything in terms of his long-term future, so we’re absolutely ecstatic.’
It is yet another boost for the south London club, who recently pulled off a huge coup in the transfer market by luring Germany international Max Meyer to Selhurst Park on a free.
Meyer’s deal at Palace is believed to be £170,000 per week – however, that weekly wage includes bonuses, signing-on fees, agent fees and compensation to Schalke, meaning Zaha’s basic wage is the highest at the club.
THE ZAHA EFFECT
WIlfried Zaha has been crucial to Crystal Palace.
He is currently in his second full stint at the club, having had two further loan seasons at Selhurst Park while at Manchester United.
Here are his complete stats for the club.
In all competitions.
‘It makes no difference to me, because I had my head down anyway,’ he said of the speculation surrounding this future. ‘All that stuff was not going to affect me or how the team were playing. Whatever happens, happens.
‘But I’m all Palace, and you can see on the pitch that all I think about is the team doing well. We are still speaking about [a potential new contract], still negotiating, whatever. Just going to see if we can come to an agreement.
‘The main thing for me is scoring goals. Everyone talks about ‘no end product, no end product’. Well, tell me now.’
The news of securing Zaha’s services for five more seasons, plus the signings of Meyer, Cheikhou Kouyate from West Ham and Jordan Ayew on loan from Swansea, will gave Palace supporters a further lift following an excellent summer window and impressive three points at Craven Cottage.
Zaha’s heroics last season, to all intents and purposes, kept Palace afloat in the Premier League. He scored nine and assisted a further five goals which went a long way to securing top-flight status once again for the Eagles.
He showed the kind of form that attracted Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2013 and once again the big clubs came calling. Spurs and Chelsea harboured serious interest in the winger, while Everton also expressed an interest in bringing him on board before their £40m acquisition of Richarlison.
The Ivory Coast international has also started the current campaign in similar vein, netting in the club’s season opener – a 2-0 win over Fulham — before again confirming his desire to stay at Selhurst.
In scoring, Zaha equalled Chris Armstrong’s 23-year-old record for most goals in the Premier League for the club. Asked if he could break the record soon, he said: ‘Hopefully Monday! It’s nice to see that I’ve managed to reach that level and I can break it on Monday. It’s nice to know all the effort I’m putting in is actually paying off.’
It is all part of an impressive summer, which included the signing of Max Meyer (left)