Ivory Coast international Wilfried Zaha rejected the biggest contract offer in the history of his boyhood club Crystal Palace in favor of a free transfer to Super Lig side Galatasaray.
The Turkish champions pipped several clubs to Zaha’s signature, including Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce, and Serie A side Lazio, with transfer interest registered by clubs in France and Saudi Arabia as well.
Zaha spent the majority of his career with the Eagles, barring an ill-fated short stint in Manchester United colors and a loan spell taken in at Cardiff City.
The Ivorian saw his contract with Crystal Palace expire this summer and despite being offered the biggest extension in the history of the club, the winger has opted for pastures new in Turkey in a bid to add to his trophy cabinet.
Had he agreed an extension with the Selhurst Park outfit, Zaha would have stood to earn £200,000 a week for four years which would have made the winger the highest-paid player in the Eagles’ history.
He chose, instead, to take home a signing bonus of £2 million and roughly £72,000 a week on a three-year contract with the Super Lig champions where he is guaranteed to challenge for trophies year upon year while part of a competitive team in an easier league.
The lure of playing Champions League football next season has proved to be too much for Zaha to resist despite the substantial disparity in wages proffered as playing in the competition is a priority for the 30-year-old.
Galatasaray are set to compete for a place in the group stage of the Champions League next term, having been drawn to play Lithuanian side Zalgiris in the second qualifying round.
Lazio have already booked their place in the group stage of the Champions League by virtue of their league standing but unlike Galatasaray, they are presently unable to challenge for domestic honors which is also likely to have entered the Ivorian’s calculations.
Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony, speaking to Simon Jordan and Jim White on talkSPORT, was a little bemused about Zaha’s next destination.
MacAnthony believes that it would have made sense for Zaha to accept a payday given he will soon be on the wrong side of 30 and his injury record for the past few seasons.
He further noted that the gulf in quality between the Super Lig and the Premier League is palpable with the footnote that it was perhaps time for Zaha to take on a new challenge.
MacAnthony also voiced his surprise that no side in the top half of the Premier League offered Zaha a three-year contract.
It remains to be seen if Zaha will get to play Champions League football in the fall after missing out under David Moyes when the Scot was at the helm of Manchester United but this clearly is not a transfer with monetary motivations.