‘I spoke with Unai on phone but the club chose Pepe’: Wilfred Zaha opens up about his failed move to Arsenal

Sportarsh Team
2 Min Read

Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha has spoken out about his failed move to Arsenal in 2019, claiming the Gunners chose fellow Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe over him that summer.

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Then-manager Unai Emery spent £72 million to bring in Pepe, who has struggled since joining the club. The 27-year-old has yet to live up to the transfer fee paid by the north London club, frequently appearing from the bench behind Bukayo Saka in the first-team.

The winger has yet to make an appearance this season, with reports claiming that a departure is possible while the window is still open. It remains to be seen whether Pepe can turn his Arsenal career around.

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Wilfred Zaha explained the transfer saga back in April on Jamie Carragher’s podcast:

I had a conversation with the manager actually. [Unai] Emery was just like, We don’t really need to go through much. He said he’d seen me play, he knows I can change games at any time and stuff like that.

He was like, Yeah we’d love to have you and I was just like, Yeah I’d love to come. The conversation was rather straightforward because I played against him when he was manager of Arsenal.

He saw what I could do, saw my work-rate, and what I could add to the team. Obviously, it was up to the club who they chose and they chose Pepe over me.

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