Crystal Palace's Ivorian striker Wilfried Zaha celebrates after scoring their second goal during the ... [+]
Few predicted Roy Hodgson’s return to Crystal Palace would reinvigorate the Eagles’ attack, but the former England manager has had this exact effect. Under Patrick Vieira, Palace were struggling to score goals. They were stale and insipid in the attacking third. Hodgson has certainly changed this.
Indeed, Crystal Palace have found the back of the net 13 times in the six matches they have played since Hodgson’s re-appointment with Saturday’s 4-3 home victory over West Ham perhaps the best showcase so far of what the Selhurst Park team can offer in and around the opposition box.
Wilfried Zaha found the net in the win against West Ham in what was his first appearance since early April. Injury has disrupted the winger’s season, but his ability was still clear to anyone who watched Crystal Palace on Saturday. Zaha remains one of the most talented players in the Palace squad.
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace holds off Jarrod Bowen of West Ham ... [+]
As things stand, Zaha will reach the end of his current contract this summer. Crystal Palace have reportedly offered the 30-year-old a club-record wage of £200,000-a-week to stay, but Zaha will undoubtedly have other options. He faces something of a career crossroads at the end of the 2022/23 season.
Now 30 years old, those alternative offers might not be from the sort of clubs linked with Zaha in the past. The winger has been the subject of bids from Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in years gone by and there’s no doubt he still has the ability to play at the elite level of the English and European game.
Crystal Palace's English manager Roy Hodgson (L) shakes hands with Crystal Palace's Ivorian striker ... [+]
However, Zaha might well be entering the twilight of his career. His performance against West Ham proves he can still contribute in the here and now, but there’s no guarantee he will be able to play at that level for more than a few more seasons. This could put off any top-level club tempted to make him an offer.
Zaha is already a Crystal Palace legend. He is certainly one of the best players to have ever worn the Eagles’ shirt in modern times. Zaha is an icon for the Selhurst Park club. He could sign a new contract and each even more as a Palace player with the club seemingly on an upward trajectory even after the departure of Vieira.
There will always be an unanswered questioned about Zaha is he doesn’t ever earn a move to an elite level club. Of course, the winger was signed by Manchester United as a youngster, but struggled to make much of an impression. He learned from the experience and improved. Zaha will know what’s best for him and his career.