Wigan Athletic Boss Roberto Martinez Says Deal For Crystal Palace Wonderkid Is Unlikely

Roberto Martinez doubts Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is a ‘realistic’ option for Wigan Athletic, but is monitoring the situation of Honduras midfielder Roger Espinoza.

Zaha is regarded as one of the best prospects in the Football League and Palace have the teenager tied down to a long-term contract.

He was a target for several Premier League clubs during the summer transfer window, with Wigan reported to have seen a £3million bid rejected.

Palace are rumoured to want double that sum for the 19-year-old and Martinez has suggested that the Latics will not be meeting that price.

“I think Wilfried has tremendous potential,” said Martinez in the Daily Mirror. “He has grown massively over the last 12 months.

“The first time we saw him was against us in the Carling Cup a year ago, but he has come on a lot since then.

“Crystal Palace have high thoughts of him. I don’t think it is going to be a realistic player for us. In these situations it has to be value for money.”

However, Martinez may make a move for Sporting Kansas City midfielder Espinoza, who is shortly of contract and impressed at the Olympics.

The Wigan boss added: “We will keep a close eye on him.

“We have got really strong links with Honduras and been very successful there with Wilson Palacios,Hendry Thomas and Maynor Figueroa.

SOURCE: Sky Sports

It looks inevitable that Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha will arrive in the Premier League before long. The 19-year-old dazzled with his performances last season, catching the eye in both the Championship and Palace’s run to the Carling Cup semi-final.

Zaha was linked with a whole host of top-flight clubs this summer, including Roberto Martinez’s Wigan Athletic. Although the Spaniard has downplayed his chances of landing the England under-21 international, Zaha could do a lot worse than the DW Stadium.

It is worth remembering that the last two promising wide-men who impressed at Wigan, namely Antonio Valencia and Victor Moses, have gone on to join Manchester United and Chelsea, proving that there are few better stepping stones to the big-time than the Lancashire club.

Zaha has been linked Liverpool and Tottenham, far more prestigious clubs than Wigan, but making a big move early can be hugely damaging to a promising career.

John Bostock, another Palace prodigy like Moses and Zaha, joined Spurs as a highly-rated 16-year-old. Four years later, Bostock has had numerous loan spells away from the club and, now 20, is yet to make a single league appearance for Tottenham.

Bostock is now a benchwarmer at League One Swindon town, a stark contrast to Moses, just a year his senior, who was on the bench for Chelsea for the Champions League clash with Juventus on Wednesday.

If Zaha moved to Wigan, he would be guaranteed first team football in a team that likes to pass the ball and play with plenty of pace and width. If he impresses sufficiently under Martinez’s wise tuition, he will not be prevented from making a big move by the club’s understanding chairman Dave Whelan.

Martinez may be playing down his chances of signing the starlet but Zaha should be jumping at the chance to join Wigan.

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