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Zaha is not for sale except for good price, Hodgson asserts

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Crystal Palace’s Ivorian striker Wilfried Zaha (C) discusses with referee Andy Madley during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Crystal Palace at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 28, 2019. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

Roy Hodgson is confident nobody at Crystal Palace is looking to sell star winger Wilfried Zaha in January, but he recognises “serious” bids would have to be considered.

Zaha was widely linked with moves to both Everton and Arsenal in the previous transfer window, with Hodgson acknowledging the player was unhappy when no transfer materialised.

Palace reportedly set a £100million asking price, which neither club would go to, with fellow suitors Chelsea serving a transfer ban at the time.

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However, Chelsea’s suspension has since been reduced, meaning they can make signings next month, and Zaha continues to be mooted as an option.

Earlier in December, agent Federico Pastorello told Sky Sports News the Ivory Coast international “deserves a new challenge and a top club”.

Hodgson said ahead of a Premier League trip to Norwich City to start 2020: “Wilfried is not for sale. I don’t need assurances.

“We are not trying to sell Wilfried Zaha, we have got to try to keep Wilfried Zaha.

“So, what assurances can people give us? I have the assurance that nobody at the club is trying to sell Wilfried Zaha.

“But, of course, you never know where bids are going to come from, and whenever there is a serious bid for one of your players, the board of directors will take it seriously.”

Before any such offer arises, Hodgson’s focus is on boosting a squad ravaged by injuries with new signings.

“[Zaha’s sale] is certainly not something we are looking for, and by the same token, everyone at the club is aware that we need strengthening,” the manager said.

“We need certain players. We need strengthening in certain areas where we do not have the cover or the competition that we need. I believe that we need to try to put that right, too.

“If you’re asking me if I get assurances, you can’t get assurances, unfortunately.

“You only get people saying, ‘This is what needs to be done, this is the next step for us going forward’, and then hope that leads to players coming through the door who we want, who would make our squad stronger.”

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