Sunday, January 17, 2021

Wilfried Zaha opens up on Emery talks and his failed move to Arsenal

Crystal Palace winger Wilfred Zaha has been with the club for a long time now. The Palace winger hasn’t been in good form in the 2019-2020 season where he managed to score only 4 times. However, he rediscovered his goal-scoring form this season as he netted 8 goals in 15 games.

The 28-year-old started his Premier League career at Crystal Palace in the 2010 season where he represented the club for four seasons, making 110 appearances. He netted only 12 goals in that stint before moving to Manchester United.

However, he didn’t get enough chances to play as he was warming the bench more often than not. He made only 2 appearances for the club. Since he was not getting enough game time, he was sent back to the club where he came from.

He was on a loan spell for the next three seasons where he played for Crystal Palace in the 2013 season. After the season, he was sent to Cardiff City on loan before returning to Palace again for the 2015 season where he signed a 2-year contract.

Zaha opens up on his failed move to Arsenal

Zaha’s style of play attracted interest from big clubs including Arsenal. He was linked to the Arsenal club several times even during Arsene Wenger’s managerial career. However, his transfer to the Gunners didn’t happen.

He signed a 5-year agreement with the club in 2017. Overall, he made more than 330 appearances for the club, netting as many as 57 goals to his name. After Unai Emery took over as Arsenal manager in 2018, Saha was once again linked to Arsenal. In fact, he was close to signing for the club.

When Arsenal signed Pepe over Zaha

Although it was too close, the move to the club failed in the end. The Palace winger has finally opened up on his failed move to Arsenal in the 2019 season. He disclosed that he also held advanced talks with the then manager Unai Emery.

However, Arsenal decided to splash the cash to Lille a club record £72million fee to rope in Nicolas Pepe ahead of the Ivory Coast international. Pepe was far from being impressive ever since he donned the Arsenal jersey.

He couldn’t unleash the full potential and lacked consistency in the games he played. Speaking on Jamie Carragher’s The Greatest Game Podcast, Zaha shared that the talks with Unai Emery were straightforward.

Saha opens up on his failed transfer to Arsenal

‘I had a conversation with the manager. [Unai] Emery was just like, “We don’t really need to go through much”. ‘He said he’d seen me play, he knows I can change games at any time and stuff like that.

‘He was like, “Yeah we’d love to have you” and I was just like, “Yeah I’d love to come”. ‘The conversation was rather straightforward because I played against him when he was manager of Arsenal.

‘He saw what I could do, saw my work-rate, and what I could add to the team,’ he added. Zaha said it was down to the club who they sign and they preferred Pepe to him in the transfer window.

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