Manchester United leading race to sign Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha

Alex Ferguson

Manchester United are the firm favourites to win a two-club race to sign Wilfried Zaha, after Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur cooled their interest in the player.

It is understood senior executives from United and Crystal Palace have held discussions about the transfer of the 20-year-old, who is waiting for a fee to be agreed before he negotiates any personal terms.

Although Zaha is an out-and-out winger, the expected signature of Theo Walcott, who has also played most of his career out wide, on a fresh deal at Arsenal is not thought to affect the club's desire to buy him. The Palace player is understood to have no preference about whether he joins Arsenal or United.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side host Liverpool on Sunday and Jonny Evans believes United's preparation for matches against their rivals has been better this season.

"We've beaten Chelsea, Liverpool and City all away from home," he told Inside United. "They're big games, which we'd gladly take three points from. In seasons gone past we sometimes haven't been able to get results in those big games, so that is a big boost for us.

"We don't sit there at the start of the season and say: 'Right, we need to win this game and that one,' because we know that football doesn't work like that. But I think what we have done going into those games is to be better prepared. We've been doing well this season although we probably didn't start the way we would have liked. But we have confidence in our own ability that we can go anywhere or play any team and win."

Powered by article was written by Jamie Jackson, for on Thursday 10th January 2013 22.38 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © Andrea Sartorati

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