Championship - Reports: Arsenal begin Zaha negotiations

Arsenal have begun talks to sign Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha in January, according to reports.

The Championship club’s manager Ian Holloway and co-chairman Steve Parish have both claimed this week that the 20-year-old, who was handed his first England cap in the friendly defeat to Sweden this month, is going nowhere before the end of the 2012-13 campaign.

But it has been reported that the Gunners have made the first move for the forward ahead of Premier League rivals Manchester United, Liverpool and champions Manchester City.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger raised the ire of Holloway following his response to a question regarding Zaha – who is a boyhood fan of the North London club - at Tuesday’s media briefing.

Wenger said: “We are looking at every player who could strengthen our squad - but he is not more on the list than anyone else.”

This innocuous comment led to Holloway accusing Wenger of “bad etiquette” and saying he would be “picking the phone up to talk to him”.

It is suggested by Goal that Arsenal are willing to pay £10 million up front for Zaha with an add-on package worth a total of £2m, though they are reportedly not keen on a deal which would see the youngster remain at Selhurst Park on loan until the summer.

But Zaha is under contract with the Eagles until 2017 and Parish has claimed that it would take a bid in the region of £20m to secure his services.

Holloway remained adamant that there would be no January transfer for Zaha. “Wilf is a big part of our season — and we have such a strong contract others can go and whistle,” he said.

“He won’t be available, no matter what the price is, in January.”

“He will definitely be playing at Crystal Palace after January,” Parish added in an interview with talkSPORT. “Why would we sell him? What would we achieve by selling him?

“We’ve been speaking this week with the players’ representatives, we’re focused on getting out of this division and that’s why we have an academy. We’d like to think his first chance in the Premier League will be playing with us.

“I can’t speak about deals that are things that are in the paper. No one has contacted me so we have to cross that bridge when we come to it.”