Wilfried Zaha could be the subject of an auction among Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, with all four clubs monitoring the Crystal Palace winger, whose price would be around £10m.
There has not been a formal bid for the 20-year-old but Palace are expecting official interest to be lodged once the winter transfer window opens on 1 January. Although Palace are reluctant to sell, they realise it is impossible to hold on to Zaha, despite him being protected by a five-year contract. Zaha has also expressed a desire to play in the Premier League.
If he is to be sold Palace are keen to do business in the first week of the transfer window so as to use the fee on two or three players to reinforce their squad. Palace are fourth in the Championship, four points behind Hull in the second of the automatic promotion places.
Once United, Chelsea, Spurs or Arsenal confirm their interest Palace will try to secure a price in the region of £15m to £20m but in reality Zaha is expected to fetch £10m. Zaha has never played in the Premier League but has made more than 100 appearances in the Championship and has scored 12 times since making his debut in March 2010 as a substitute against Cardiff City.
Born in Ivory Coast, he came to prominence with a dazzling performance against United in Palace's 2-1 win at Old Trafford in the Carling Cup quarter-finals in 2011. Fábio da Silva was booked during the United full-back's attempts to stop Zaha's powerful runs from his favoured wide-left position. Zaha won the free-kick eight minutes into extra time from which Glenn Murray headed Palace's winner. He made his senior England debut this season as a substitute in the 4-2 defeat to Sweden in November.
Zaha is from the same Palace production line as Victor Moses, who was sold for £2.5m to Wigan Athletic two years ago before Chelsea bought him last summer for £9m.
Palace will also attempt to deflect an anticipated bid of £3m from Norwich City by offering the Championship's leading scorer, Murray, a new contract at Selhurst Park.
Murray has registered 22 goals this season for Palace, who are fourth in the division having scored in all but one of their matches this term. The forward, a free transfer signing from Brighton in the summer of 2011, earns around £13,000-a-week at Palace but will be offered improved terms to extend his stay at the south London club.