Former Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi inked a five-year deal with Everton on transfer deadline day, a move which has left Wilfried Zaha devastated after his deadline-day hopes of leaving Crystal Palace to join the Toffees were dashed.
Everton made several bids for the Eagles’ star forward the last of which was reported to be a £55 million cash deal plus striker Cenk Tosun but Palace refused to sanction the move, even after the Ivorian submitted a transfer request.
Everton swiftly moved for Alex Iwobi instead with an improved bid of £35 million landing the Goodison Park landlords the Nigeria playmaker.
It is understood that Palace’s stand has left Zaha dismayed as he did not train with the rest of the first-team squad yesterday. Instead, manager Roy Hodgson reasoned it was best the 26-year-old worked on his own, in the gym, before being sent home early.
With the transfer window remaining open for other major European leagues until the beginning of next month, the 26-year-old may still seek a move abroad.
The immediate problem for the Palace manager is how to get his disgruntled forward to focus on playing for them again.
Hodgson confirmed that the Eagles had their work cut out in trying to appease Zaha in the coming weeks.
“He’s staying, absolutely, and we’re pleased about that,” Hodgson said.
“It’s well documented that he wanted to leave. It hasn’t worked out for him in that respect, but now I am looking forward to seeing him do this season what he has done for us in the past few seasons.
“His beef is with the chairman and the owners because he wanted to leave and they didn’t receive an acceptable offer, but when you sign long-term contracts then you have to accept this kind of thing and come to terms with that.”
Zaha signed a five-year contract at Palace only last August, which made him the highest-earning player in the club’s history, on £130,000 a week, and did not include a release clause.