Wilfried Zaha opens up on failed Arsenal move
Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has sensationally revealed just how close he was to agreeing a move to Arsenal, with the Ivory Coast international admitting that a transfer looked set to be pushed through, but the Gunners instead opted to sign a different player.
Arsenal pushed through a deal to sign struggling forward Nicolas Pepe from Lille for a reported £72 million, with Zaha instead staying at Crystal Palace.
Zaha, an Arsenal fan as a boy, had been hoping to move to the Gunners and in conversations with former Gunners manager Unai Emery, it appears a deal fell through at the last minute: "I had a conversation with the manager. (Unai Emery). 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.
“Obviously, it was up to the club who they chose - and they chose Pepe over me.”
Zaha has been linked with a move to Germany in recent months, with Bayern Munich holding a long-term interest in the attacker.