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.