As contract talks with Theo Walcott continue to stall, with the aspiring striker current deal expiring in the summer, Arsenal may be lining up his replacement.
Wilfried Zaha has been an integral part of Crystal Palace's recent surge up the Championship table, the club have won six out their last seven matches, and has bagged consecutive braces in the last two games. Palace's form has moved them to fourth in the table, only three points of the top, and will give the club an even stronger position to negotiate with Arsenal from.
However even if Palace were to look like gaining promotion, the lure of a side like Arsenal may be enough to tempt Zaha away from the club he has progressed through the youth ranks at.
Club co-Chairman Steve Parish has said before that every player has his price, and Zaha has been strongly linked with Premiership teams before. But with Zaha inspiring Palace to such a high league position, the price potential suitors will have to pay rises all the time. Arsenal have shown before that they are not frightened of paying large amounts for talented young players in the lower leagues.
The man Zaha is touted to replace, Theo Walcott, was signed for a fee eventually settled at £9.1 million, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cost £12 million.
£12 million is the figure that is being bandied around with regards to Zaha. Having played two full seasons in the Championship already, and with an impressive start to his third, he has experience well beyond his 19 years.
He would be coming in as a winger, but his eye for goal could perhaps see him play a role through the middle as he develops as a player. Arsene Wenger has brought Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain on a great deal in their time at the club, and Zaha could be the latest young England winger to benefit from his experience.
If Arsenal cannot find a resolution with Walcott, or even if they grant him his wish to play more as a striker, they will need a replacement on the wings.
Zaha ticks all the boxes, and a step up to the Premier League to a club like Arsenal could see him graduate from the England youth ranks into the senior team. If a sizeable fee can be agreed with Palace, everyone might end up benefitting from this move.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald