Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha talks for first time over failed Arsenal transfer…

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has opened up over his failed transfer to Arsenal in 2019.

The Gunners were on the verge of sealing a deal to sign Eagles talisman Zaha in the summer of 2019 but instead opted to spend a club-record £72million on Nicolas Pepe.

The player said he thought he was on his way to the Emirates Stadium after speaking with Unai Emery about a move but the Gunners’ management eventually chose Nicolas Pepe whom they signed from Lille over him.

Speaking with Jamie Carragher on The Greatest Games podcast, Zaha wondered why Arsenal snubbed him for Pepe despite the fact that he already had Premier League experience.

“I had a conversation with the manager (Unai Emery), actually.
“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.

“Obviously, it was up to the club who they chose, and obviously they chose Pepe over me,” Zaha said. recalls Pepe joined Arsenal on 1 August 2019, for a club-record fee of €79 million (£72 million) and was handed the number 19 shirt.

Zaha, 28, remains with Palace and was also quiet last season before finding form again in recent months – hitting eight goals in 15 games.

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