Chelsea have emerged as the latest Premier League club eyeing a deal for ambitious Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, despite the 2018/19 Europa League winners currently serving a transfer ban.
Palace's standout player, Zaha is keen to take the next step in his career. Arsenal have already had a £40m bid rejected for the 26-year-old, while Everton emerged as a suitor just this week after talk of a potential club record bid to take the player to Goodison Park.
As a punishment for beaching transfer regulations relating to international minors, Chelsea are banned by FIFA from registering new players until next summer. But that may actually serve to make them a better option for Zaha as far as Palace are concerned.
The Daily Telegraph explains that Everton have informed Palace they are willing to offer £60m plus Turkish striker Cenk Tosun in order to sign Zaha. It is a vast offer and certainly comes far closer to the much talked about £80m valuation than Arsenal's rather derisory £40m bid.
But Chelsea could yet pose a significant danger to the Toffees and the report notes that Everton 'fear' losing out. That is because striking a deal with Chelsea would see Palace keep Zaha for another year as he wouldn't actually complete the move to Stamford Bridge until next summer.
It has become well known that Zaha is ultimately eyeing Champions League football and the Telegraph further notes that he favours Arsenal or Chelsea ahead of Everton for that reason.
But with Arsenal fighting budget constraints this summer, it may be that a deferred move to Chelsea that goes through in 2020 is the best option for both Zaha and his current club.
There is even a suggestion that negotiating with Chelsea might also make it easier for Palace to sign striker Michy Batshuayi after he scored five Premier League goals for them while on loan from Stamford Bridge in the latter half of last season.
Chelsea lost Eden Hazard to Real Madrid earlier this summer. But while Christian Pulisic has arrived from Borussia Dortmund and Callum Hudson-Odoi is set to at last commit his long-term future to the club, the likes of Willian, 30, and Pedro, 31, will need replacing in due course.
Zaha, who would be 27 by the time he arrives, could potentially tick all the boxes.