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Unai Emery wanted Wilfried Zaha at Arsenal, not Nicolas Pepe

(Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)


Unai Emery wanted Wilfried Zaha at Arsenal, not Nicolas Pepe

Former Arsenal manager, Unai Emery, has admitted that he wanted to sign Wilfried Zaha and not Nicolas Pepe during his time in charge of the Gunners.

Emery was relieved of his duties earlier this season, with Mikel Arteta taking over the reins.

emery zaha

Unai Emery claims that he wanted Wilf Zaha, not Nicolas Pepe, at Arsenal. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

However, things may well have been different had Emery got some of his main transfer targets. Indeed, despite spending around £70m on Pepe, Emery has revealed he did in fact want to sign Zaha ahead of him.

“I favoured someone who knew the league and wouldn’t need to adapt.

“Zaha won games on his own: Tottenham, Manchester City, us. Incredible performances. I told them: ‘This is the player I know and want’,” Emery told the Guardian.

The speedy Crystal Palace winger has been in superb form for the Eagles once more this term. Under Roy Hodgson, Zaha has developed into the key player for Palace and has helped guide them away from relegation danger.

And Emery admitted it was his performances for Palace that caught the eye.


“I met Zaha and he wanted to come. The club decided Pepe was one for the future. I said: ‘Yes, but we need to win now and this lad wins games.’ He beat us on his own,” he added.

Ultimately, Pepe took time to adapt as Emery predicted. Things, then, could well have been different had Emery got his number one target.

Zaha would have been perfect, he once ran Man City ragged – TBR View

Few players are as accomplished at Premier League than Zaha, especially when it comes to wingers.

zaha arsenal

Wilfried Zaha could have ended up at Arsenal if Unai Emery had gotten his own way. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

He is productive, always a threat, and someone who is mentioned in every transfer window with getting a move away from Selhurst Park. He also probably has a point to prove given his failed time at Man United.

Indeed, Zaha caused Pep Guardiola all kinds of headaches earlier this season. The Man City manager slammed his team previously for allowing Zaha to get the better of his defence.

If it’s good enough to worry Guardiola, then you can’t help but feel Arsenal have dropped a clanger.

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