Wilfried Zaha has told Jamie Carragher’s Greatest Game podcast that he held talks with Unai Emery over a move to Arsenal but claims the Gunners signed Nicolas Pepe instead – and Sanchez Watt has criticised his comments.
Zaha, 28, is in stunning form this season. The former Manchester United star has scored eight goals in 15 Premier League matches as well as laying on two assists in that time. He is expected to surpass 400 Palace appearances.
But it could have been very different. Speaking to Carragher, Zaha stated that he spoke with Emery and both wanted a move to occur – but instead, Arsenal signed his Ivory Coast teammate from Pepe from Lille for £72million.
“I had a conversation with the manager. [Unai] Emery was just like, ‘Yeah we’d love to have you’ and I was just like, ‘Yeah I’d love to come’,” Zaha said. “Obviously, it was up to the club who they chose and they chose Pepe over me.”
Pepe has since struggled at Arsenal while Zaha goes from strength to strength at Selhurst Park. Ex-Arsenal winger Watt is not impressed with Zaha’s comments, criticising the winger for calling out a current Arsenal star in Pepe.
I rate Zaha highly… he should be playing for a top six team & deserves another chance….but to mention a players name during his bad time is wrong… we all remember his opportunity at Man U with all that pressure…. ease up off the man dem #Afc https://t.co/seeRf3QfMR
— SANCHEZ WATT (@sanchezwatt) January 7, 2021
TBR’s view – Watt has it bang on, unnecessary pressure on Pepe
The whole fanbase at Arsenal now knows that while Pepe continues to struggle, it could have been Zaha. That is not going to help the under-pressure winger, and it is piling more unnecessary pressure on the winger.
Every time Zaha plays well for Palace, Arsenal fans will be comparing him to Pepe from now on in – even if they did not do so already. It goes without saying, though, that Zaha would have been a top signing for the Gunners.