Arsenal join Manchester United in the race for Wilfried Zaha
Gunners ready to make offer for £12m rated 20-year-old
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.
Arsenal have certainly been active observers of the winger, 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 now appears to be a two-horse race for Zaha, with United ahead. The Palace chairman, Steve Parish, is currently away and with the club aware that they will need to bring in a good transfer fee to assuage supporters who see Zaha as key to their hopes of promotion to the Premier League, a deal may not be imminent.
United host Liverpool on Sunday afternoon with Brendan Rodgers' team seeking their first win at Old Trafford since the 4-1 victory of March 2009, but the manager has said in the build-up he is not a "magician" as he tries to rebuild a club who have spent pretty disastrously in the past few years. "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, 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. Absolutely. 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. We have to find the difference through the coaching. We will always be governed by budget; always be governed by restrictions on certain things within the club because if you haven't got the money you can't spend it."
Though Sunday's game 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, with nine different scorers plus Suarez since the start of 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 [in] performance level and that has helped the team."
Latest in Sport
What time is the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble on? And full match card
Cristiano Ronaldo vine: Real Madrid forward sent-off for kicking and striking opponent during 2-1 win over Cordoba
Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Gabriel Paulista fee agreed as Gunners make £13.5m bid to sign Villarreal defender - reports
Adrian Chiles leaves ITV: Football host joins exodus with immediate effect following Andy Townsend and Matt Smith announcement
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
David Cameron says anyone criticising Eric Pickles' letter to Muslims 'really has a problem'