Manchester United are favourites to sign Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha in a planned £12 million deal.
However, United seem reluctant to agree any deal in January after Sir Alex Ferguson ruled out any transfers during the winter transfer window.
This means fellow suitors Arsenal, could hijack the deal for the 20-year-old and force through an agreement before the end of the season.
Zaha’s performances for Palace so far this season have attracted massive interest from Old Trafford with the youngster also winning his first England international cap last year.
Zaha is reported to prefer a move to Manchester United as Ferguson has a track record for taking young players, protecting them and encouraging their development into Premier League superstars.
Both sides could afford the transfer fee and the personal terms which would follow, meaning it’s a simple tug of war between United, who want to wait, and Arsenal who seem intent on creating a very youthful squad.
If a deal does not go through before the end of January then United could be in a stronger position to sign Zaha when the summer window opens later in 2013.
The prospect of guaranteed and proven success over a side that have not won a trophy for the last seven years would be very hard for any 20-year-old to turn down.
Crystal Palace’s manager Ian Holloway seems confined to losing one of his best players but he has insisted that if Zaha is sold this January, it will be on the basis that he is loaned back to the Championship club.
This is something United may be more willing to do considering the adequate cover Ferguson has in wide areas.
Ferguson has rarely broken with tradition in terms of winter transfers, which means United fans and Zaha himself just need to have patience in relation to this matter to ensure that no rash decisions are made which are later regretted.