The Andy Gray Column: Rare January move shows what Manchester United boss Sir Alex thinks of Wilfried Zaha

By Mancunian Matters staff ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to Mancunian Matters…

It is rare for Sir Alex Ferguson to do much in the January transfer window and I think that speaks volumes for how much he rates Wilfried Zaha – and how worried he was about missing out on him.

First and foremost I think going back to Crystal Palace for the remainder of the season is the right thing for him to do. Obviously it will need to be sanctioned but I don’t know of many people who would see that as a bad thing.

Manchester United get the player and he gets a full season of Championship football under his belt – it’s win-win in that sense.

Helping Palace continue their promotion push would be good experience for him and would mean he came back to Old Trafford with that under his belt and the confidence to push for a first team spot.

In terms of his ability, there has been much said about the young man and he has shown certainly at the level he is playing at that there is a talent there.

Ferguson saw interest from Arsenal and much like when Newcastle went to sign Wayne Rooney in 2004 he has acted decisively to bring an incredibly talented youngster to the club.

But I don’t know how good he is going to be, we know he is a talent and stepping up from where he is playing now to next season would be a big jump, but the people I have spoken to think he could do it.

Of all the places he could go I can’t think of anywhere more perfect than Old Trafford – it’s an incredible opportunity, Ferguson has an incomparable track record of success with young players.

Whether it is he players he has brought through the ranks like David Beckham or Ryan Giggs, or young players he has brought in at a young age like Cristiano Ronaldo, he moulded them into the players they are today.

Obviously a player like Ronaldo would have gone on to be immensely talented but would he be at the level he is now without Ferguson? Even he has suggested he doesn’t think so, which is a massive mark of respect to Ferguson.

Losing two points at Tottenham was no disgrace, Tottenham are a very good side – I don’t see it as the beginning of a collapse.

There are 15 games to go and I think United are being driven by what had happened to them at the end of last season.

Because of that collapsing like they did last season is far more unlikely in my opinion and they seem very driven to get the title back from City and in the same way City seem very driven to keep pushing them.

But it is still very firmly in United’s corner, there is no doubt about that.

It was a game they could have easily lost, Tottenham did certainly enough for them to think that they could have won the game. But in many ways they could have lost it.

If Wayne Rooney was given the penalty at 1-0 the game could have been over.
It’s United’s to lose at the moment though and I don’t think Ferguson would let anything shift their focus this season – they took a lot from last year and I think it is the motivation behind everything they do this season.

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