The Daily Mail is reporting that Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha will be sent out on loan next month after struggling to break into the Red Devils’ lineup.
Since moving to Old Trafford on a £15m deal from Crystal Palace, Zaha has made a single Premier League appearance.
The bow came as a second-half substitute in last week’s 0-1 loss to Newcastle at Old Trafford. To his credit, Zaha looked lively in the match but based upon today’s news was not impressive enough to convince manager David Moyes.
While he lacks the pragmatic approach of Antonio Valencia, the flair of Nani, the skill of Adnand Januzaj or the incisive dribbling of Ashley Young, Zaha possesses a raw power and youthful exuberance to his game that provides a nice change of pace.
His ability to bully opponents is something that Moyes apparently feels he can do without. Competitors, however, will feel otherwise.
The Mail claims two clubs are pressing to complete a Zaha loan: Everton and Newcastle.
Typically a right sided player, Zaha would compete with the likes of Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu at Everton. Mirallas has underwhelmed this year while Deulofeu, with his goal against Arsenal, has quickly become the toast of the town. Unseating either, let alone both, would be a difficult objective for Zaha but one that’s hardly impossible.
Roberto Martinez would welcome the depth and be excited by the prospect of lining him up next to fellow physical specimens, Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley. The Everton boss could even move Mirallas to the left wing for Steven Pienaar, which would then allow Deulofeu to keep his super-sub role. By no means a need for Everton, Zaha could nevertheless become a very valuable weapon.
Newcastle will be thinking the same. Yoan Gouffran and Moussa Sissoko have enjoyed brilliant seasons on the wing at St. James’ Park, meaning displacing either could prove difficult. The former has proved a knack for scoring key goals while the latter possesses immense power and game changing ability.
Perhaps the biggest compliment to Gouffran and Sissoko is the fact that their play has resulted in Alan Pardew having to sit Hatem Ben Arfa, who is arguably the Magpies most skilled and dangerous player albeit a liability on defense.
Like Martinez, Pardew would be overjoyed at acquiring Zaha. The winger’s physicality and direct nature would fit in seamlessly with Newcastle’s style.
But would Moyes really loan Zaha to a competitor like Everton or Newcastle?
It depends on the Scot’s school of thought. Old schoolers would emphatically say ‘no’ as adding to a competitor’s arsenal seems counterintuitive. The new line of thought set forth by visionaries like Jose Mourinho, however, would beg to differ.
By loaning Zaha out to a long-shot Top 4 competitor like Everton or Newcastle, there’s a greater chance these clubs will knock off the title favorites (Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City) thereby making United’s climb back into the Top 4 more likely. Plus, since the loan rules prevent a player from playing against his parent club, Zaha wouldn’t be hurting United.
Considering the conservative nature of Moyes it’s likely he would fall under the ‘old school’ category. And in the case of Everton and Newcastle, he’d be justified in adopting that approach.
Why loan Zaha out to a long-shot Top 4 competitor who may just end up claiming that 4th spot?
It would seem much more likely that if Moyes does send Zaha out on loan that he’ll go to a relegation threatened club like Sunderland, Fulham, West Ham, or, the most likely scenario, Crystal Palace.