Phelan spotted watching Crystal Palace and Zaha against Burnley

by Tom Parker

According to the Daily Telegraph, Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan made a personal check on the highly-rated Zaha as speculation intensified over a potential move to United.

Zaha, who made his England debut against Sweden in November, has been courted by the likes of United, Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester City.

Keeping up with this saga has been difficult with red top papers delivering almost daily updates on the comings and goings of a protracted deal.

Alex Ferguson has denied any interest in a move for Zaha in January. Speaking at the pre-Liverpool press conference on Friday, he said:

“There’s nothing to report! It’s January, what can I say? I know you’re desperate for a story but there’s no story. I’ve got nothing to tell you.”

However, Phelan’s presence lends real weight to the argument that Zaha could be edging closer to a move to Old Trafford. The Daily Mirror tonight claimed that United will offer £15 million and add-ons for the promising 20-year-old.

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway also seemed resigned to losing his star-man when appearing on Sky Sports’ Footballers Football Show.

It has been claimed that any deal for Zaha will involve him continuing his development at Selhurst Park before hooking up with United in the summer.

The Ivory Coast born winger, who normally operates on the right, has made over 100 appearances for the Championship outfit and finished last season with a very impressive nine goals and five assists in 49 appearances, and Zaha also put in a stellar performance against United last season in the clubs Carling Cup run.

A fee of £15 million may seem steep to some but Zaha is among the brightest English talents and could represent good value.

United certainly have space for a wide-man with Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia blighted by inconsistency and poor form, particularly Valencia. Meanwhile, Nani has suffered with niggling injuries and has been fairly lacklustre this season.

Problems out wide have even gotten so bad that United have resorted to a narrow diamond formation on more than one occasion due to a lack of options on the left and right of midfield.

With wingers being such a vital part to United’s attacking play such as flying wide men Best, Ronaldo, Giggs and Beckham steeped in Manchester United folklore, it seems logical to add to an area which lacks depth and perhaps quality.

Zaha hasn’t ruled out a potential move in January. Speaking to Sky Sports earlier in the month, he said: “I’m not a teenager any more…to be honest, if I had the chance in January and Palace agreed, it’s something I’d want to go for.” Clearly, he has a desire to play at the top level and could prove to be a great piece of business.

The 20-year-old is something of a rough diamond and is still very raw. However, he doesn’t lack in confidence and clearly has more than enough talent to succeed at the highest level. All he needs is a manager and a club who can help him progress onto the biggest stage. Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United could prove the perfect match.

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