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Manchester United in the lead for Wilfried Zaha according to ESPN report

Dan Istitene

According to a report by Miguel Delaney for ESPN, Manchester United feel that they are in pole position to land Crystal Palace's highly-coveted Wilfried Zaha. The 19-year-old has been linked to the likes of United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur recently but as part of any transfer, it's believed that Palace desire for the winger to be loaned back to them for the remainder of the season.

The Championship side currently sit third in their in their division, one spot shy of automatic promotion to the Premier League. They could also earn promotion by winning the playoff between the four sides who finish between third and sixth in the table. Quite obviously, Palace have ambition for this season. With United manager Sir Alex Ferguson claiming Nani is not leaving in January transfer window, this is an arrangement that could benefit all parties involved. Here is some of the key tidbits from the ESPN report:

"Although Arsenal have long been seen as favourites to eventually secure Zaha’s signature, the player is understood to have had his head turned by United and, particularly, the current position in the table of the two clubs.

The Old Trafford side, meanwhile have further leveraged the situation with some canny negotiating. A key in any transfer is that United are apparently much more willing to let Zaha stay at Selhurst Park until the summer in order to help Palace secure promotion. By contrast, Arsenal have a greater need to reinforce right now."

It's clear that United desire to bring in a winger, whether that be in January -- especially if Nani does indeed leave -- or in the upcoming summer. This is perhaps evident by them being continually linked to the likes of Zaha, James Rodriguez, and Lucas Moura in the past year-- the latter of which eventually signed for Paris Saint-Germain. There's even been faint speculation that United have inquired about Neymar in the past summer and Theo Walcott in recent months.

Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have futures at the club but Nani's situation has seemingly become more contentious as time goes by. There's been speculation that he hasn't been first-choice this season because Ferguson didn't want to make him an important part of the team until he recommitted his future at the club as the Portuguese winger's contract expires in the summer of 2014. In addition, there's been suggestions that there's been some confrontations between Nani and some of the younger players coming through at the club. Ah, the silly season...