It’s unclear if the Guardian are working with new information or if they’re just summing up the current situation, but their latest report claims that Chelsea are “ready to step up” the pursuit for Wilfried Zaha and ready to spend a significant portion of the £150m transfer budget we’re supposedly working with.
And by significant they do mean significant, as Crystal Palace have apparently set their asking price at a whopping £80m, and are “determined not to accept a lower fee”. January’s always a seller’s market, even if Chelsea could possibly work a deal with our cross-town friends by including Olivier Giroud or whoever.
The report does mention all the other usual suspects as well as we move ever closer to January — Ake, Sancho, Chilwell, Werner, Dembele, Chalov — but Zaha appears to be the focus, which would again match the most recent hints from Frank Lampard about wanting to improve Chelsea’s incision in attack.
But would it be worth breaking the club’s transfer record to do so? While Zaha would represent practically a finished product who theoretically should be able to make a telling contribution straight away, the potential for his overall improvement (as with most of our other biggest-money signings) would be rather limited at this point. As much as Lampard talks about losing Eden Hazard’s contributions, spending Eden Hazard-esque money on Zaha doesn’t really jive with the “not going crazy” assurances from the Chelsea boss for January.