Arsenal steam up on rails to join United in two-horse race for Zaha

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The Independent Online

Manchester United must fight Arsenal for the services of Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha, despite impressions that they would enjoy a free run for the 20-year-old England international's services.

Arsenal have certainly been active observers of the forward, about whom United have opened discussions with Palace, with the north London club's chief scout Steve Rowley present at several of his games. It appears to be a two-horse race, with United ahead. The Palace chairman Steve Parish is currently away and, with Palace aware that they will need to command a good transfer fee to assuage supporters who see Zaha as key to a promotion push, a deal for Zaha may not be imminent.

With Liverpool seeking their first win at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon since the famous 4-1 win of March 2009, manager Brendan Rodgers has said he is not a "magician" as he seeks to rebuild a club who have spent pretty disastrously in the past few years and have a limited budget now.

"I will be able to improve players – that is my work and I have confidence in that," he said. "If I look at [my] first six months, I believe there have been improvements in a lot of the players. I will be able to take them and wring everything that I possibly can out of them. But the bottom line is about talent. If you don't initially have that then it can be difficult.

"You look at Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique since the start of the season and we have added value back to them. That is something we will look to do because we don't have the resources of the top clubs who are out there paying big money."

Though Sunday's tie is essentially a match-up between the two best players in the Premier League – Robin van Persie and Luis Suarez – Liverpool have finally become less dependent on their talisman. There have been nine scorers for them, plus Suarez, since December. "I never worried about it," Rodgers said. "I always said it has to be more than Luis Suarez who scores. As the season has gone on people have improved and developed as players and that has helped the team."