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ESPN: United in Pole Position to Land Zaha

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Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, linked to an Arsenal transfer for most of the season, could be on his way to Manchester United this January as ESPN reports the current EPL leaders are leading for his signature

Charlie Crowhurst

What a day for transfer news, and it's only the 3rd of January. Anyway, ESPN is reporting that Manchester United leads the race to sign Crystal Palace whizkid Wilfried Zaha. Or "so they've learned:"

Although Arsenal have long been seen as favourites to eventually secure Zaha’s signature, the player is understood to have had his head turned by United and, particularly, the current position in the table of the two clubs.

The Old Trafford side, meanwhile have further leveraged the situation with some canny negotiating. A key in any transfer is that United are apparently much more willing to let Zaha stay at Selhurst Park until the summer in order to help Palace secure promotion. By contrast, Arsenal have a greater need to reinforce right now.

Crystal Palace currently sit 3rd in the Championship table, two points out of the valuable 2nd position that guarantees their promotion to the Premier League, so this makes sense on a few levels. If Arsenal are truly going to re-sign Theo Walcott, they aren't exactly hurting for options on the right wing even if Walcott slides into a regular starting role at center forward. Further, Palace would be fools to hurt their promotion chances, so if they can cash in on him now while retaining his services through the end of the season, that guarantees them both a lucrative transfer fee and the cash windfall that comes with a Premier League promotion.

Unfortunately, if he does sign for United and comes good on the hype surrounding him, many will point to a missed opportunity on Arsene Wenger's part, but few will correctly remember that there are other current areas in our squad that need reinforced more than right wing.