Wilfried Zaha is ready to take the step up and get the move he craves

Wilfried Zaha took what some may have considered a gamble when he spoke so candidly to Sportsmail
about his ambitions and future last month.
It was a brave move. With the season still ongoing and Crystal Palace's survival uncertain at the time, it invited extra attention and could have backfired.
But pretty much all that has happened since has simply underlined why he felt there was no risk attached to laying out all his hopes and dreams of returning to an elite level club again so openly.
Because, with the spotlight on him burning with even greater intensity, Zaha has simply shone even brighter, emphatically backing up his talk with a stunning finish to the season including star showings in three of Palace's final four games against Arsenal, Cardiff and Bournemouth.
Those close to Zaha were not surprised in the slightest.
Rather than wilt they fully expected him to thrive under the added individual pressure of having even more people watching his every move wondering whether he really is ready to step up again after telling the world he is.
And those considering bids can only have been impressed by how the 26-year-old has performed with the increased scrutiny on him, just as he would need to every week should he get the move he craves.
Zaha's ill-fated time at Manchester United left many doubting his ability to do just that and he was keen to set the record straight when he spoke to Sportsmail
His take on what really happened during his time at Old Trafford was fascinating and refreshingly honest.
And in the same way there are two sides to every story, another phrase that may apply to Zaha is: everyone deserves a second chance.
He has spent the last five years since returning to Crystal Palace fighting to earn his, recovering from having his confidence shattered at United to becoming the Eagles' talisman and a consistent Premier League performer.
Now, he feels, the time for that chance has come.
His best season ever during 2018-19 – 10 goals and 10 assists for a club that have spent most of the season looking over their shoulders – strongly supports his case.
So too does the fact Zaha has become one of the most important players to an individual team in the Premier League.
At one stage Palace went on a run of over two years when they failed to win a league game without the influential Zaha in their side, a sequence that finally ended in December 2018.
And it has been impossible not to notice opposition teams doubling and on occasions even tripling up on the Ivory Coast forward to try and nullify Palace's main danger man.
In a side with more attacking threats to share the workload, opposition's attention and allow him greater freedom, it is reasonable to expect his output would only increase.
Palace, of course, ideally don't want that situation to come to fruition, hence their attempts to deter his suitors with an £80million valuation.
Why would they? Some consider Zaha the best player to ever wear their famous red and blue stripes.
At the same time, there is a feeling shared by some behind the scenes and also among the Palace fan base that Zaha has done all he can for the club and should be allowed to fly the Eagles' nest for a second time.
If that was the outcome it would be a rare scenario where all parties could end up happy.
Palace's coffers would be swelled by a huge influx of cash allowing them to reshape their shallow squad with up to three new major signings and evolve manager Roy Hodgson's team.
And Zaha would get that all-important opportunity he is so desperate for and has looked especially primed for since speaking out.

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