Millen denies plans to re-sign Zaha from Man United behind Pulis exit

Keith Millen denies that Crystal Palace's plans to re-sign Wilfried Zaha prompted Tony Pulis' sudden departure

Richard Buxton
By Richard Buxton at Beckenham

Keith Millen has denied that Crystal Palace’s plans to re-sign Wilfried Zaha prompted Tony Pulis’ sudden departure.

The former Stoke manager left Selhurst Park by mutual consent on the eve of the new Premier League campaign amid claims relations with Eagles co-chairman Simon Parish had become irreparable due to a clash over transfer targets.

Zaha’s proposed return from Manchester United, with his prospects appearing increasingly bleak at Old Trafford, is said to have been at the heart of the disagreements between the pair but caretaker Millen, who will oversee Palace’s opening day clash with Arsenal on Saturday, insists that the winger was not a factor in Pulis’ decision to leave south east London.

We do need to strengthen in that area and Wilf ticks lots of boxes

Keith Millen

“It certainly wasn’t a disagreement,” said Millen. “He’s a name that’s been mentioned all summer and as staff we sat down and spoke about the fors and againsts.

“We know Wilf because we’ve worked with him before so we thought it would be right to try and get him back if he was available. That discussion’s been going on all summer.

“We do need to strengthen in that area and Wilf ticks lots of boxes.”

Asked if Zaha could be on his way back, Millen replied: “No. We don’t even know if Man United have made him available and I’m sure if he was available a lot of clubs that would want him.”

Millen admitted that he was not privy to any conflict in Pulis and Parish’s relationship and that caused the current situation at SE25 but admits that the pair were both strong characters.

“The relationship I saw when the chairman came on trips with us and the manager was fine. We’d sit and have a drink with him and discuss football. The chairman’s got his opinions on football and they were fine,” he said.

“The transfer dealings we’ve been frustrated as a club because we’ve maybe not bought as many players as we’d have liked to but we’ve still got two to three weeks to bring players in.

“But when you look at [Brede] Hangeland, Fraizer Campbell and Martin Kelly coming in are, they’re three great signings for this club so we’re pleased in that respect.

“The relationship when I was with [Pulis and Parish] was fine so whatever was said between the two, I can’t say because I’m not privy to.”

He added: “Tony’s a very single-minded person, he knows what he wants on the football field and you can see that in the way he organises the players and the team. That’s why we were so successful last year.

“Steve as the chairman, who quite rightly has got the club’s interests at heart, has got an opinion in football so I think that’s the same in any club. You’ll have a manager with an opinion and a chairman with an opinion.

“Whether they have fallen out, I don’t know, but you’ve got two strong people there.”

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