Persistent tabloid speculation suggests Tottenham Hotspur haven’t yet abandoned their pursuit of Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.
After having a £15m opening gambit binned by the Eagles, Spurs reportedly returned with an £18m offer for the former Manchester United star as they look to augment relatively thin attacking ranks.
The length of time taken for Georges-Kevin Nkoudou to sign on at White Hart Lane suggests he has travelled from Marseille to north London on foot and despite the deal being all but completed for several weeks, the Frenchman still isn’t an official Lilywhite with just over a day remaining before the transfer deadline passes.
Zaha could be seen as an alternative to Nkoudou or, more likely, he’s being targeted to provide greater depth to a team allegedly set to lose Son Heung-min to Wolfsburg, more of which you can read about here.
His returns from the previous campaign at Crystal Palace, however, were a long way off those one might assume a player requires to earn a move from a team that battled relegation to one that qualified for the Champions League.
In 34 Premier League appearances, Zaha registered just two goals and assisted one more, quite rightly raising questions over his ability to both shoot and cross.
Despite these substandard stats, the Ivory Coast-born wide man possesses the raw materials that Mauricio Pochettino could mould into something special.
The Argentine tactician has done it to great effect in the past, most notably when converting Eric Dier from a struggling defender into one of the finest holding-midfielders in the Premier League.
Dier spent the bulk of his first season in north London as an ancillary right-back, before emerging as an anchorman at the start of last term.
Positioning skills honed during years of playing at centre-back complimented his splendid technical qualities to ensure he flourished in this new-found role, quickly establishing himself as a guaranteed starter for both Spurs and England.
Erik Lamela was another who benefitted from Pochettino’s stewardship. The Argentine was on course to be one of the Premier League’s biggest flops after his near-£30m transfer from Roma, but thanks to his countryman’s coaching is now a staple starter in the Spurs attack.
Like his English namesake, Lamela possessed obvious technical qualities that would allow him to prosper, but required additional guidance as to how best to put them into practice.
With pace and skill in abundance, Zaha has the tools to prosper after he’s taken some of Pochettino’s magic words on board.