Through the early stages of this summer’s transfer market, Roma has been linked to the same few names to bolster an attack in need of more goals. It’s been a repeated cycle of Goncalo Guedes, Paulo Dybala, Ola Solbakken, and Andrea Belotti for the most part, but now a new name has emerged.
According to the latest report from Fabrizio Romano and Sky Sport, Roma could again be looking to the Premier League for help. According to Romano, the latest name linked to Roma is Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace. Per the report, there haven’t been any contacts with the Premier League club, but he’s a player that appeals to both Mourinho and Roma’s management.
AS Roma are considering to make a move for Wilfried Zaha. No official bid yet - but he’s really appreciated by club board and José Mourinho. #ASRoma— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 8, 2022
No discussions opened with Crystal Palace, still early stages - option now considered internally. @SkySport
The 29-year-old Ivorian has been a Premier League mainstay after coming through Palace’s youth system and debuting for the senior side at age 16 when the club was playing in the Championship. After a few years in the Championship with Palace, Zaha completed a couple of loans at Cardiff City and Manchester United before returning to Palace in 2014-2015.
Zaha has been a fixture in the Palace line-up for the last eight seasons, amassing over 3,000 minutes three times and just under 2,500 or more in four of the other five. He’s a versatile attacker who can play across the front line, both on the wings or as a striker. And it’s likely that his versatility is what appeals to Roma’s management.
Last season, Zaha tallied 14 goals in just over 2,700 minutes of PL football (33 appearances) playing predominately as a left-winger. That was the highest output of his career and averaged out to just under half a goal per 90—a solid total that puts him in the 70th percentile for non-penalty goals among wingers and attacking mids across Europe’s big five leagues.
Zaha also ranks highly (especially when compared to forwards) in terms of his progressive passing and carries, and dribbles completed; qualities that could be appealing on the counter-attack in tandem with Tammy. Meanwhile, his 20.12 pressures and 1.57 tackles per 90 are solid numbers for a player in his position.
There’s been no mention of a price tag on Zaha, but his contract with Palace does expire at the end of the 2022-2023 season, which could make a deal for Zaha affordable. He’ll be 30 years old by the end of the calendar year, so Roma would be getting a player at the tail end of his prime. However, his experience could be just what Roma needs as they look to make the jump to the next level in attack. Meanwhile, for Zaha, a move to Rome could be appealing after having spent his whole career at a mid-table club.
Roma’s gone shopping for experienced, affordable players from the Premier League to great effect over the last couple of seasons with Smalling and Mkhitaryan. If Roma’s interest is concrete, could this be another of those success stories and one that takes Roma’s attack to the next level?