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Zaha looks back on failed Arsenal move after Gunners opted for Pepe


Wilfried Zaha

Crystal Palace winger, Wilfred Zaha has opened up on his failed move to Arsenal after the Gunners dumped him for Nicolas Pepe.

The 28-year-old had a verbal agreement with the then coach Unai Emery in the summer of 2019 only to see the club settle on a £72million transfer for Zaha’s international teammate from Lille.

Reflecting on the failed move, Zaha told Jamie Carragher on The Greatest Games podcast: “I had a conversation with the manager.

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“He was just like, ‘we don’t need to go through much’. He’s seen me play, he knows I can change games at any time and stuff like that. It was like, ‘yeah, we’d love to have you’. And I was just like, ‘I’d love to come’.

“The conversation was rather straightforward because I’ve played against him when he’s managed Arsenal, he’s seen what I can do, he’s seen my work-rate, what I can add to the team.

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“Obviously, it was up to the club who they chose, and obviously they chose Pepe over me.”

“I just think if there’s a player who plays in the Premier League who you see week in, week out, and you know what he does… I feel like it’s a no-brainer.

“The other leagues, I feel like they are totally different, in the Prem there are no easy games whatsoever. Every team is going to give you a run for your money. There’s no game where you’re going to go, ‘yeah, we’re going to win 5-0’.

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“That’s my thought… I feel like when players come from abroad, I don’t know, they just have that edge with clubs, it’s just like [they say], ‘yeah, I may want him a bit more because he’s from there’.”