Roy Hodgson is “confident” Wilfried Zaha will follow his lead in signing a new contract to remain at Crystal Palace.
The manager, who turned 71 on Thursday, has agreed new terms to commit to the club until 2020.
He revealed similar discussions are ongoing with his finest player at the conclusion of a transfer window in which his future became uncertain.
“There’s never been any question of the club wanting or being interested in any offers for Wilf Zaha,” Hodgson said.
“We said at a very early stage, myself, the chairman and the American owners, that we don’t want to bring that many players in, and certainly don’t want to lose the good players we have.
“I’m delighted (Zaha is staying). He’ll be happy too, because he’s such an iconic figure at this club. When you’ve got a player of that quality – and we’ve got several of them – there’s always going to be speculation because other clubs are going to want them.
“I’m not aware of bids (for him), but that doesn’t mean to say they weren’t there. The bids don’t come these days directly to managers. They come through chairmen, and also through sporting directors. Often it goes owner to owner when you’re talking about the big transfers.
“That discussion (about a new contract for Zaha) has been going on, but as far as I’m concerned that’s private between Wilf and the club. I’m just confident they’ll find the solution everyone’s happy with.”
The club are clearly happy with the work Hodgson has done, which is reflected by the contract extension.
The former England boss took over at Selhurst Park in September last year, after Frank de Boer had suffered five defeats in five Premier League games to leave the Eagles rooted to the bottom of the early standings.
Hodgson lifted Palace well clear of relegation with the club ultimately finishing 11th.
It was a fantastic achievement from Hodgson, who had quit as England manager after the Three Lions’ Euro 2016 exit to Iceland.
Hodgson said: “I am delighted to have extended my contract with Crystal Palace. It is a club that has been close to my heart since I was a youngster growing up in the borough of Croydon, and having stood on the terraces in the 1950s, it is a wonderful thing to be managing my boyhood club all these years later.
“We can be proud of our achievements last season in turning things around despite a poor start, but this year we want to ensure we don’t endure the same struggles.
“I am thrilled that I have the support of the owners, who believe that I am the right man to help this club move forward and I will do everything I can to make that happen.”
Palace’s opening fixture of the Premier League season will take Hodgson back to Fulham, where he enjoyed great success between 2007 and 2010.
Of those considered important to Palace’s hopes, only Scott Dann, owing to a long-term knee injury, has been ruled out of Saturday’s fixture at Craven Cottage.
New signings Vicente Guaita, Jordan Ayew and Cheikhou Kouyate are in contention to make their debuts from kick-off, with Max Meyer set to miss out due to a lack of match-fitness.
Slavisa Jokanovic has tempered expectation at Fulham, insisting his side’s primary goal is to survive in the Premier League.
The Cottagers, who returned to the top flight by beating Aston Villa in last season’s Championship play-off final, have spent £100million over the summer and brought 12 players to the club.
However, the Serbian sounded a cautious tone ahead of Saturday’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace.
“We arrived last in the Premier League, our principle objective and target must be to stay up,” he said.
“We still haven’t started the competition and I prefer walking step-by-step. We will have more information after the first game, it is better to think this way and we will see our level at the end of the season.
“Our first target must be to stay up. We are starting to build a team to try and be competitive at this level.
“We came third in the Championship, we arrived here last and at it’s important and necessary to show ambition and desire to be competitive and spend money to bring players who can help us.”
Jokanovic brought in a dozen players over the summer – five during Thursday’s deadline – as Jean Michael Seri, Maxime le Marchand, Fabri, Andre Schurrle, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Alfie Mawson, Calum Chambers, Sergio Rico, Joe Bryan, Luciano Vietto, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa bolstered the Cottagers’ ranks.
The boss was happy to splash the cash and would have carried on going if he could.
“It’s important to have investment, I always want more, more and more,” he said.
“For my position it’s normal to need players. We have made great investment and I expect it to benefit the club.
“It is normal, we arrived last in the Premier League and we need to adapt the team and make investments.
“We have made great investment and I expect this will help us to be more competitive in this division.”
One potential problem of bringing so many players in is that Jokanovic must manage them all and keep them happy, not that he is worried about that.
“I am not Santa Claus, I don’t need to make anyone happy,” he said.
“I try to make hard and great competition between the players, this is the most competitive (league) in the world and they need to fight for their position in the training ground.
“My job is to pick a starting XI, this is my job.”
He does have decisions to make in defence as Denis Odoi is suspended, Tim Ream is injured, as is new signing Mawson.
The eye-popping figure underlines the young shot-stopper’s talent, with Kepa long being considered one of the best No1s in the world.
Here are five things you may not have known about the world’s most expensive netminder.
Champion of Europe
Arrizabalaga first burst onto the global stage at the U19 European Championships in 2012.
The same year the senior Spain squad won Euro 2012, the U19 side was giving everyone hope for the future with a triumph of their own.
Arrizabalaga started in goal for that side, alongside players like Suso, Paco Alcacer and Gerard Deulofeu, and starred in the semi-final against France, saving spot-kicks from Samuel Umtiti and Geoffrey Kondogbia in Spain’s dramatic penalty shootout win.
Stamp of approval
Though Zinedine Zidane advocated against his transfer to Real Madrid in January, Arrizabalaga comes with the backing of some well-renowned managers. It was Marcelo Bielsa who brought him into the Athletic Bilbao first team, and though he didn’t make an appearance under the Argentine, that was nonetheless quite the show of faith.
Current Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde gave him his debut, when the former was at Bilbao, and current Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui handed Arrizabalaga his first senior international cap, in a friendly last November.
Zidane may have convinced his club to pull out of a deal for the young goalkeeper, but the decision was seemingly mutual.
Reportedly, after passing a medical ahead of the move, Arrizabalaga himself rejected the transfer, preferring to stay at his boyhood club. He instantly signed a seven-year deal with a release clause that has now seen Athletic bag a record transfer fee for a goalkeeper.
While leaving his hometown club just six months after a signing a long-term contract may leave him open to accusations of disloyalty, deciding against a move to one of Spain’s biggest clubs and agreeing a contract with a release clause that inherently heaped the pressure on him showed his mental fortitude.
Sarri finally gets his man
Speaking of managers rating Arrizabalaga highly, the goalkeeper is going to play for a manager who’s already tried to sign him before.
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri revealed this week that he was looking at a move for the young Spaniard last year, while in charge of Napoli, and thus he’s well aware of the 21-year-old’s talent.
For his part, Arrizabalaga says Sarri’s style of football should suit him, as he enjoys building play from the back – though he’s prone to taking a few risks with the ball at his feet, which can be costly.
Kepa’s birds fly high
Though the young goalkeeper took to football early on in his childhood, he balanced his interest in the sport with another passion: birds.
Kepa and his father used to train goldfinches to sing, and three of the youngster’s birds have even won singing competitions.