Reports claim the Manchester United winger could be sent on loan in January...but is the news a fact or a tactic?
Reports this morning claimed Manchester United are considering sending Wilfried Zaha on loan in January; which means he has just over five months to persuade them why they shouldn’t.
Following the club’s 5-1 win over A-League All Stars yesterday, David Moyes sprinkled praise – of a sort – over the former Crystal Palace player.
“He showed moments that nearly got you out of your seat,” Moyes said.
But at United, at any club in fact, “nearly” doesn’t cut it. And you sensed that as much as the new boss was singling out the 20-year-old for his performance, he was also challenging him to do better.
Keen as they are to monitor Zaha up close in the short term, the champions are also said to be open to sending him elsewhere should they feel it will aid his progress. But in releasing the news now, it can be seen as a canny tactic and mental manipulation as much as a statement of intent.
In short they are telling the player to prove he deserves a place in the squad now, thus rendering a loan move unnecessary.
That Ryan Giggs has been tasked with educating him says everything about both men. Giggs is a walking, talking education in how to play (and keep playing) the game; while Zaha is his potential long-term successor.
While reports that Zaha has been told to sit next to the Welshman in the dressing room suggest players learn as much from the tiny pearls of small-talk as they do from the pain and elation of the game.
There have been plenty of nearly men at United in the past. Zaha will not want to follow in those particular footsteps.
So he has until January to prove he can lift the fans right out of their seats, and that he can do so consistently.
Should he still be pulling on the red of United come February, he will have succeeded.
How do you feel about the prospect of Zaha going on loan for the second half of the season?
image: © Tom Brogan