Ivory Coast teammate might prove a better deal than Zaha for Arsenal - The12thMan

Ivory Coast teammate might prove a better deal than Zaha for Arsenal

Arsenal had been linked with the Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe. The deal seems to be very fruitful as it can change Arsenal’s style of play for the better this season also with the arrival of Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid. 

The North London club had been linked with Wilfred Zaha since the beginning of the transfer window. The Crystal Palace man had been amazing season in 2018-19 and would have been brilliant catch for Arsenal, but the deal seems harder and harder to complete everyday as the transfer deadline of August 8th approaches. 

Unai Emery at an Arsenal Match

Crystal Palace has put a staunch £80 million price tag on Zaha, fueled by the 25% sell-on-clause to Manchester United. This has rattled The Gunners who have tight transfer budget. Now, they are getting Zaha’s teammate in the Ivory Coast National team, Nicolas Pepe for £72 million, cheaper than the Crystal Palace Talisman and a fitting substitute. 

Pepe at the Ligue 1 club Lille has managed to rack up a mamoth 23 goal last season and became a target for clubs. He improved by 10 goals when compared to the 2017-18 season. 

Compared to Zaha, the recently turned 24-year-old Ivorian International seems to be a very good fit for the Gunners. Though Zaha is better than him in dribbling and pace but his chance creation and also a goal scorer shouldn’t be underestimated. As his numbers are still in the top 15 in the Ligue 1. 

Unai Emery has sought out a player who is a perfect fit for his play as his fluctuations form formations of 4-2-3-1, 3-4-1-2 and even an old-fashioned 4-4-2 has been mainly to make use of the Flanks of the team. Arsenal has lacked that Quick agile player on their side. A player who would cut inside and test the goal-keeper.  

The play is mainly based on attack minded wing-backs, thus Arsenal if they have agile winger like Pepe he will not only able cut inside with his speed but also can really the ball to an incoming Wing-back and occupy a more center stage.

Nicolas Pepe has shown the best fit skills for the Arsenal team at Lille as he has averaged three shots on goal every 90 minutes and has completed 3.73 successful driblles with 2.63 progressive dribbles per match. Pepe being left footed has also the ablity to rush through a defence from the right flank. 

Though his dribbling skills fall short when compared to the Crystal Palace man and Pepe has played in another League where the style of play has been a lot different than that of the Premier league. 

Pepe is three-years younger and can be trained to be better. Unai Emery would have his attacking problems by the throat if he acquires either Zaha or Pepe. In this recent venture of Pepe he does seem to be the better option for the Gunners. As once Arsene Wenger also invested in French players in the Premier League and they revolutionised the English game. 

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