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Wilfried Zaha to sue his agent over failed transfer away from Crystal Palace

By Vincent Ashitey
Wilfried Zaha
Wilfried Zaha
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Wilfried Zaha is taking legal action against his agent, Will Salthouse of Unique Sports Management, due to anger at the agency's failure to secure him a transfer from Crystal Palace last summer.

Sportsmail has learned that Zaha has instructed Chris Farnell of Manchester-based IPS Law to represent him in a case that will be decided at a private arbitration hearing under FA Rule K.

Zaha is understood to have informed Salthouse in writing of his desire to leave USM last month, triggering the start of a potentially explosive legal wrangle, with the player alleging his agent is compromised by his relationship with Palace chairman Steve Parish.

The Ivory Coast forward was told that he would be held to his contract with USM that runs until next summer, meaning they will be entitled to commission if he leaves Palace during the next two transfer windows, leading him to appoint his own lawyers.

The 26-year-old has been approached by several other intermediaries who have pledged to get him out of Selhurst Park, including super-agent Mino Raiola, and wants another agency to handle his next transfer.

Zaha was unhappy at being unable to leave Palace last summer despite interest from Arsenal and Everton, whose £52million bid led to him submitting a formal transfer in August.

His letter to Salthouse is understood to contain complaints that the agent is too close to Parish, a relationship he claims led to his move being blocked.

In addition to Zaha there are four USM players on the books at Palace, whilst the agency also brokered Aaron Wan-Bissaka's £50m move from the club to Manchester United last June.

Zaha's decision to take legal action against Salthouse, who has guided his career with considerable success for seven years, indicates he still wants to leave Palace despite returning to the side in recent weeks after rested by Roy Hodgson during the transfer saga.

Having signed a five-year contract worth £130,000-a-week last year however Palace are in a strong position, and will not allow him to leave cheaply.

Under FA rules any dispute between a player and an intermediary is resolved by an independent arbitration panel, with both sides having to agree to its composition.

The matter could yet be settled without recourse to law if both parties agree a financial settlement before the tribunal is formed, which could take several months. Salthouse declined to comment.