chairman Steve Parish says Ivory Coast winger Wilfried Zaha “deserves” to play for a “top club”.

Palace rejected bids from and in the transfer window as they value the 26-year-old at around £80m.

Parish told the Daily Mail it will be “difficult” to keep Zaha, but the club need to find a replacement first.

“I’m sure it has a happy ending for everybody,” said Parish. “That’s what I want to generate and I’m sure we’ll make that happen.”

Zaha, who is in his second spell with Palace having coming through the youth ranks at the club before moving to in 2013, signed a contract extension last summer that runs until 2023.

“The situation was not right for anybody this summer,” added Parish. ‘We didn’t have a bid of the value we place on the player.

“I’ve watched him every week for 10 years – he scored the first goal in the first game after we bought the club when he was 16. So there’s even a bit of me that wants to see what he can do at a top club, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be the person who stopped that.

“I feel he deserves to get there. I hope it happens and sometimes it mystifies me he’s not up there already.”

He added: “We’re lucky to have him. But if that top club comes along and the money’s right, he’s an extraordinary talent and it’s going to be very difficult for us.

“Wilfried won’t be here forever, and we must be ready for him to go, if he does go. The last day of the transfer window, however, is not going to be it.”


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