“I had a conversation with the manager actually” Zaha reveals how close he came to joining Arsenal

Wilfried Zaha has been a long-term target of Arsenal and the Ivorian has now revealed that he even held talks with the then Arsenal manager, Unai Emery in the summer of 2019.

A childhood Arsenal fan, Zaha has been on the radar of the Gunners for some time now and 2019 was a year that he could have finally sealed his move to the Emirates.

The Gunners wanted a winger, and Emery recommended him to the club as the exact sort of player that he wanted.

The Gunners had other alternatives, and as they struggled to reach an agreement with Crystal Palace for Zaha, they eventually signed Nicolas Pepe from Lille, in a record-breaking transfer.

Zaha said that his conversation with Emery was pretty straightforward because the Spanish manager was already aware of his talents and simply told him that he would love to have him at the Emirates.

The winger also said that he would love to join the Gunners, but accepted that they chose Pepe over him.

He told Jamie Carragher’s The Greatest Game Podcast: “I had a conversation with the manager actually.

“[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: “Obviously, it was up to the club who they chose.

“And they chose Pepe over me.”

Tags wilfried zaha


  1. Stan Adams says:

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing Pepe has been disappointing but because of his age at the time i would have picked him both players were good players and playing well at the time.
    But Emery wanted Zaha and he wanted Afc so there was a strong case for him.
    Pepe is not a lost cause he has shown talent and seems like a willing learner havnt given up on him yet.

    1. jon fox says:

      Stan Hindsight may indeed be wonderful but foresight is a good deal more wonderful and far more rare. Esp at our club over the last decade. Hindsight needs no special intelligence but foresight certainly does When dull witted people, eg GAZIDIS, run the financial affairs at a club it is in trouble.

  2. Sue says:

    So close yet so far… gutted!!

    1. Kev82 says:

      Terry silver coming back for CK season 4 Sue 😄

      1. Sue says:

        Don’t tell me you’ve finally watched it all??!! 😄

        1. Kev82 says:

          Haha yeah I watched season 3 in 2 days 😂😂 Miyagi/ Eagle fang do 😉 so hawk saw the light and became good Sue 😜

          1. Sue says:

            It was great!! I’d finished it in 2 days too – roll on season 4! Yes good old Hawk and Miguel recovered 🙂

          2. Kev82 says:

            And Johnny plus Daniel beat Kreese it was good to see 😄 yeah it was a violent fall I wasn’t expecting him to recover 😯 I hear season 4 might be January 2022 that’s too long 😂 well Sue fa cup tomorrow can we do it ?

  3. Reggie says:

    The truth is people went over Emerys head because of finance or the package. Both players were and are not worth 80 mil and neither would have fulfilled that tag with the supporters. Zaha is not any better than Pepe and proved that at utd.

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