Thursday 22 August 2019

Hodgson rubbishes talk of Zaha move to Borussia Dortmund

The Crystal Palace striker signed a new contract at the start of this season.

Wilfried Zaha has been linked with a move to the Bundesliga (Yui Mok/PA)
Wilfried Zaha has been linked with a move to the Bundesliga (Yui Mok/PA)

By Declan Warrington, Press Association Sport

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has dismissed reports linking Wilfried Zaha with a transfer to Borussia Dortmund, insisting there has been no contact between the two clubs.

The future of their most influential player had appeared settled when he signed a new contract at the start of this season until 2023, but amid Dortmund’s sale of Christian Pulisic to Chelsea the Bundesliga leaders are credited with considering him a potential replacement.

It is in the final third where Hodgson hopes to strengthen his team — Bakary Sako is close to concluding a return to the club — so the loss of his finest player would significantly disrupt his plans.

To that end, Everton’s Cenk Tosun has been linked with a loan move to Selhurst Park following the collapse of a similar bid for Dominic Solanke, but Hodgson also refused to discuss any potential interest in him.

“There has been no dialogue whatsoever between Borussia Dortmund and Crystal Palace,” the 71-year-old said. “Wilf signed a long-term contract with Crystal Palace. He’s very much our player.

“I’d be very surprised if there were any clubs out there who wouldn’t think he’s very good, but that doesn’t mean they are going to try and buy him.

“I’m (also) not prepared to talk about any individual players (like Tosun) because we could be here all afternoon if I was supposed to take notice of every player we’re supposedly interested in.

“We have two players coming back from long-term injuries. Connor Wickham, after two years’ absence, and Christian Benteke coming back from a serious operation. We don’t know how long it will take before he is back to the player we know he can be, so we don’t have an awful lot of attacking options.

“So it’s not surprising we’re being linked with attacking players. But we do have players. A lot depends upon how it pans out with Connor and Christian in terms of their recovery.”

Palace on Sunday host Tottenham in the fourth round of the FA Cup, having watched them lose on penalties in the Carabao Cup semi-finals to Chelsea on Thursday evening.

New goalkeeper Lucas Perri, who this week arrived on loan from Sao Paulo, is expected to go straight into their squad, but instead of feeling nostalgic about a competition that has provided so much during his lifetime, Hodgson added his voice to those who consider it to be in decline.

“They’re dreaming,” he said. “It’s nothing like the glittering prize it was in my youth because we have the Champions League and Europa League now. Not many have the ambition to win the FA Cup.

“The FA Cup is still being won by the top teams, and our position in the table isn’t as good as we’d like it to be.

“What is my ambition? To advance in the FA Cup and get to the semis or the final, or stay in the Premier League? My ambition is to stay in the Premier League.”

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