Crystal Palace wideman Zaha was courting the interest of Premier League big boys Chelsea in the summer, but is ready for a move to the highest level of football, says Liverpool great Souness.
The Scotsman lavished praise on the ex-Manchester United man ahead of Palace’s 2-1 defeat at Watford on Sunday – a game in which Zaha scored a late consolation for the visitors as Roy Hodgson’s side staged a late revival.
Ivory Coast international Zaha has been plying his trade in the modest surroundings of Selhurst Park since failing to grasp his chance at Old Trafford from 2013-15 and helped prevent the Eagles from dropping into the Championship last term.
But Souness boldly claimed Zaha should be playing for a club accustomed to challenging for Europe’s major honours, rather than one involved in relegation scraps.
“I think now he’s ready. Even for the big two in Spain, I think both of them would welcome him with open arms, he’s a door opener, and there isn’t too many of those players around,” said Souness on Sky Sports prior to the game.
“He’s unique in our football. He’s in that league, he’s got the stuff that gets you on the edge of your seat.”
The 25-year-old Zaha agreed a new deal at Selhurst Park earlier this month that runs until 2023.
He made just two Premier League appearances for United under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, yet ex-Liverpool, Sampdoria and Rangers player Souness is convinced the Palace forward is worthy of consideration from Spain’s top two.
“I think he’s sensational,” Souness added.
“I can see him playing for Real Madrid, that’s how good he is. I think there’s maybe a handful of players who have got the change of direction and balance that he does, and I think he should get more penalties, he isn’t a diver.
“I think he’s got a unique talent and with the utmost respect to Crystal Palace – and maybe he’s been scarred by the experience at Manchester United – he’s ready for a big, big club, the biggest clubs.
“If he stays at Palace he’s going to end up with no trophies and think ‘what if’.”
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