Arsenal turned down Manchester United new boy


The Express today has an “EXCLUSIVE” reporting that Wilfried Zaha was rejected by Arsenal prior to his £15m move to Manchester United.

Now how can I put this without offending anyone…I find the premise of this story a little bit difficult to take seriously.

The source is former Crystal Palace chairman Ron Noades, he told the paper: “When Steve Parish sold Zaha I was mildly involved in it as I tried to get Arsenal to buy him, but they were not interested.

“I spoke to David Dein as I did not want Zaha to go to Manchester United, I wanted him to stay in London.”

The first thing that we need to address is the “mildly involved” assertion in the quote. What exactly does that mean?

Noades left Palace in 1998 therefore it’s difficult to envisage what possible involvement he could have had in proceedings.

Did he offer to drive Zaha from Manchester airport, offer a change of clothes, a pen to sign the contract? It’s presently unclear.

He then claims that he spoke to David Dein. Now most people who follow football will be aware that Dein no longer works with Arsenal. He sold his shares in 2007 and has had no formal association since.

Therefore according to Noades he, an ex Crystal Palace chairman and Dein, a former Arsenal vice-chairman were “involved” in transfer discussions concerning a current Crystal Palace player.

The question here has to be, why?

You would imagine that Parish, and the rest of the consortium that took over the club in 2010 would want as little to do with ex Palace owners as possible.

The precarious situations that the South London team has found itself in during the recent past would hardly flag them up as the most reliable to provide business advice.

The story however suggests that Noades still feels he has some sway when it comes to multi million pound deals that the club are engaged in.

I doubt this, is he just deluded, what possible basis could he have had for his revelation?

No disrespect to Noades but he’s not a young man anymore, is there a chance that there was a bit of confusion and when the name Zaha came up in casual conversation he had a momentary lapse and mistook it for Saha.

Was he asked a question and then briefly transported back to the days when he was “mildly involved” in big transfers, was he actually recounting a conversation he had when he was chairman and Dein was vice-chairman and Louis Saha was maybe about to join United from Fulham?

Was it then a case of him digging himself in deeper and then not wanting to look silly, couldn’t backtrack and just carried on, we’ve all been there, did Noades just get a little bit mixed up?

It’s the only logical explanation that I can come up with.

Allen Whyte


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