Date: 13th December 2022 at 11:07am
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Chelsea’s preparations for the return of the Premier League took a blow on Sunday as they were beaten 1-0 by Aston Villa in a mid-season friendly in Abu-Dhabi. 

The Blues were in dire form prior to the World Cup break, and their performance against The Villans did little to suggest that things have changed during their month without action.

Graham Potter’s side were, however, without a number of key players who are either still on a break after the World Cup or are still on international duty in Qatar.

Chelsea face Bournemouth on December 27 in their first competitive fixture after the World Cup, but Potter will likely be looking to add to his squad during the upcoming January transfer window.

Now, one of The Blues’ top targets is believed to be on his way out of his current club.

According to Fabrizio Romano via CaughtOffside, Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha is likely to leave Selhurst Park for free when his contract expires.

The Ivorian’s current deal is due to expire at the end of the season, and the player isn’t expected to sign a new deal.

Zaha started the season in sensational form for Palace

Zaha, 30, has been The Eagles’ talisman for several seasons now, but he appears to be keen on the idea of a new challenge away from Selhurst Park.

Chelsea are said to be one of the clubs interested in the Ivory Coast international, but they certainly won’t be the only potential suitor for the player.

Romano also revealed that Italian side Roma, who are managed by Jose Mourinho, were also interested in the player last summer.

If clubs outside of the UK are interested in the player, it may put Chelsea at a disadvantage as Zaha would be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with any foreign club from January onwards, as he enters into the final six months of his contract.

The forward has netted 89 goals in 443 matches for Palace, including six goals in 13 Premier League games so far this term.

Several of Chelsea’ current crop of attackers, including Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech, have struggled of late and The Blues may therefore look to Zaha as an upgrade on the options that Potter has available to him at present.

Zaha came through the academy at Palace and has spent his entire career with the club, with the exception of a brief spell with Manchester United and a loan spell at Cardiff City.

In total, he has scored 67 goals and registered 43 assists in 291 Premier League matches.

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