BY SAM SMITH
Roy Hodgson has reiterated that any club wanting Wilfried Zaha will need to pay the “market fee” for the Crystal Palace forward.
Zaha scored the only goal in the Eagles’ opening day victory against Southampton, 12 months after the 27-year-old expressed his desire to leave Selhurst Park. Offers from Arsenal and Everton were turned down back then but there have been no bids this summer.
Hodgson was asked if he expected Zaha to be a Palace player when the transfer window closes on October 5. He said: “I hope so. The fact is that every transfer window I’ve been involved in, Wilf has made noises that he would perhaps like to play for a club that can offer Champions League football, maybe one that can be a step up in his career because he’s given a large part of his career to us and we’re grateful for it.
“But for anything to happen, that club has got to come along and pay the market price. Until such time, I’m just happy continuing working with Wilf. I expect him to understand that we can’t let him go until someone comes in and wants to buy him.”
Zaha met Andros Townsend’s cross to volley home to ensure Palace began the 2020-21 campaign with a victory.
The Ivorian had a late goal disallowed by VAR for offside but Hodgson felt the technology made the correct decision – albeit slightly unlucky. VAR also overturned a red card shown to Saints right-back Kyle Walker-Peters in the second half for a high challenge on Tyrick Mitchell.
Hodgson said: “From our position on the bench, it’s very, very hard to see the correct decision [for the offside call]. I would have thought it’s quite difficult for the linesman to make the decision because, having seen it back and seen the VAR line, it was actually very, very close.
“It didn’t look close to me during the game, I thought ‘Oops, they’re going to disallow that’, because it’s offside. But then you see the VAR lines and think ‘actually, we’ve been a bit unlucky there’, because he [Zaha] is only marginally offside and we could have gotten away with it. But, actually, the referee made the right decision on both occasions when VAR was involved.
“The red card, I’m happy that he rescinded that. Not happy that he didn’t give the rescinded goal, but I can understand why he didn’t.”
PHOTOS: PAUL EDWARDS
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