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Hodgson expecting disgruntled Zaha to shine again for Palace


FILE PHOTO: Wilfried Zaha

London, United Kingdom | AFP | Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha had hoped to be lining up on the opening weekend of the Premier League season for Everton against the London club.

Instead Zaha is still at Palace amid reports of growing tension with his boyhood club after they blocked his big move to Merseyside over money.

Coach Roy Hodgson admits that he had to send a sulky Zaha home early from training on Thursday and hopes a player who has led the battle against relegation the past two seasons snaps out of his funk in time for the new season.

The 72-year-old said he was counting on Zaha delivering for Palace despite some reports saying Zaha — who last season signed a new five-year contract worth a reported £130,000 (140,056 euros) a week — has told the club he will not be available at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

“We are looking forward to him doing this season, what he’s done for the last two seasons,” Hodgson told Sky Sports News.

“His beef is with the chairman and owners of the club because he’s wanted to leave and they haven’t received the offer that they think is sufficient to allow him to leave.

“He has to come to terms with that, when you sign long-term contracts you are expected to honour them and we expect him to do that.”

Zaha had submitted a transfer request earlier this week hoping to move to a bigger club.

However, chairman Steve Parish would not countenance selling the club’s most valuable asset for anything less than £80 million, although some reports suggested he wanted as much as £100 million.

Arsenal lost interest after they had a £40 million bid declined earlier in the summer. They then broke their transfer record to buy his international team-mate Nicolas Pepe for £72 million.

Zaha’s frustration boiled over, however, as Thursday’s deadline for the summer transfer window approached and Palace batted away two bids from big-spending Everton, according to The Daily Telegraph.

They first offered £55 million plus striker Cenk Tosun and then when that was declined they improved it to £60 million — still way off Parish’s valuation.

Admitting defeat Everton filled the void by buying Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi for a fee that could rise to £35 million.

In theory an opportunity still exists for Zaha as transfer windows are open across Europe, and the Telegraph reports that German side Borussia Dortmund are said to be interested.

However, The Times says that Parish has also put a block on him leaving for a foreign club, risking an even smaller fee next summer should Palace fail to hold off relegation.

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