Wilfried Zaha signs Crystal Palace contract extension

‘It’s nice to put all those stories to bed, stories we knew weren’t true - rumour mongering’

 Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha has signed a contract extension. Photograph: Reuters

Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha has signed a contract extension. Photograph: Reuters

 

Wilfried Zaha has committed his future to Crystal Palace by signing a contract extension, with no release clause, on improved terms to establish him as the highest-earning player at Selhurst Park.

The Ivory Coast forward, who only signed a five-year deal last summer, is now under contract until the end of the 2022-23 campaign and is understood to be earning around £130,000-a-week. The Palace chairman, Steve Parish, had admitted over the weekend that there had been “some noise in the market” but, despite Chelsea, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur having been credited with an interest in Zaha, no formal offers were ever received for the 25-year-old during the transfer window.

The player, without whom Palace failed to register even a point last season, had spoken with the club’s hierarchy and assured them he would not agitate for a move. That offered some reassurance with the contract extension, first mooted at the end of last season, now signed.

“It’s absolutely fantastic for the football club,” said Parish. “We’re all so committed this year to giving it our best shot, and this is the final piece of the jigsaw.

“It’s nice to put all those stories to bed, stories that we knew weren’t true and were just rumour mongering. Wilfried the player that we’ve seen all summer has done everything properly and right. He’s shown the respect he’s got for this football club, and he should be applauded for that with all the noise that was going on around him. Today, we’ve settled everything in terms of his long-term future, so we’re absolutely ecstatic.”

He added: “Wilf grew up a stone’s throw from Selhurst Park from the age of four, and has been with the club since he was 12. This agreement is yet another example of his lifelong commitment to the club, and our commitment to him. This is an amazing day for everyone here at Palace, our supporters and of course Wilf – and is richly deserved.”

Zaha, who joined Palace at the age of 12, has made 288 appearances and scored 44 goals in two spells at the south London club either side of a brief period with Manchester United. He scored on his full debut in 2010, the first game of Parish’s co-ownership post-administration, and is Palace’s joint-highest Premier League scorer with Chris Armstrong. He has claimed the club’s player of the year award in each of the last three seasons.

Parish had made clear that Zaha is worth “more to us than what anybody would ever pay us‚“ with no elite club formalising their interest in securing him.

“I’m very pleased,” said Zaha, who has been employed by Roy Hodgson in a central striking role and scored the team’s second goal in Saturday’s 2-0 win at Fulham. “Obviously, I just wanted to get it over and done with, so I can just focus on the season. I’m buzzing that we managed to get it sorted.”

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