Former Crystal Palace boss Dave Bassett thinks Wilfried Zaha’s poor form at the beginning of the campaign is due to the Ivorian’s desire to leave last summer.
Zaha didn’t find the net for Palace until mid-November, and has only notched three goals all season so far. Palace’s star man was the subject of intense speculation surrounding a move away last summer, with Arsenal favourites to secure his signature.
The Gunners instead opted for Zaha’s international colleague Nicolas Pepe. This meant Zaha, rather begrudgingly, remained a Crystal Palace player.
As the January window draws to a close, Zaha hasn’t been heavily linked with a move to anyone. Yet he is still struggling to find the form that made him one of the most sought after players outside the top six.
Speaking to the Crystal Palace fan show on Love Sport, ex-Palace gaffer Dave Bassett had sympathy towards Zaha’s situation. “I think it’s very difficult, he wanted to go and obviously didn’t and he was upset - that affects a player for a while, he seemed to bounce back and have a bit of good form towards the end of the year.”
“His form earlier on in the season was not up to what he normally can provide and that was down to the fact he didn’t get the move.”
“I think he decided he wanted to leave Palace, Palace obviously didn’t want him to leave and then with selling Wan-Bissaka the financial pressure wasn’t on them.”
Bassett also offered his thoughts on the kind of job Dougie Freedman is doing as Palace’s director of football and his views behind the job role overall.
“I know Dougie, he was a player when I was there. He’s an intelligent boy, he had a stint at being a manager, now finds himself a director of football.”
“Most of my career, there wasn’t directors of football at all, the director of football has got to be done in the right way and in conjunction with the manager.”
“I think the director of football should be in between the two, not favouring seeing what’s right for the club. He recommends to the board, with his football experience what he thinks and what the manager wants but at the same time he can’t be bowing to the manager if it doesn’t meet with the financial requirements or the overall runnings of the club.”
Listen to the Crystal Palace fan show on Love Sport Radio every Wednesday from 8pm.