Crystal Palace are deeply divided over whether to sell Wilfried Zaha this month, because a move for the player to Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur could damage Palace's prospects of promotion and an influx of Premier League TV money.
United and Spurs are both interested in Zaha, though Spurs could be impeded by their difficult relationship with Palace in the transfer market, which dates back to their messy and protracted move for Jonny Bostock, which was eventually settled at a tribunal in 2008. Several other deals between the two clubs have caused problems. Bostock is yet to start a game for Spurs and has spent the last three years out on loan.
With some sources doubting the notion that a United deal could involve Zaha being loaned back to Selhurst Park until the end of the season – in the way that Chris Smalling played for Fulham after signing in January 2010 – Palace are facing a decision on whether to cash in on a £12m player now and risk fans' discontent if they fail to make the play-offs. The club are third in the Championship – two points behind second-placed Hull City. But they are not awash with cash and could do with the income.
Zaha has been more dispensable to Palace in recent weeks. His form has clearly dipped since his England call-up against Sweden on 14 November and he is close to being dropped by Ian Holloway, whose coaching team feel he needs a rest.
The attention surrounding him is not helping and opposing clubs are seeking ways to shut off the threat the 20-year-old poses. The Championship leaders Cardiff frustrated him on Boxing Day. Zaha has started every Palace game since the draw at Barnsley on 23 October and with the additional exception of the Capital One Cup exit at Preston on 28 August has started every other game this season.