‘I was thinking the adaption was easier for Zaha’ Emery talks about wanting Zaha over Pepe

Unai Emery has spoken about asking Arsenal to sign Wilfried Zaha but ending up with Nicolas Pepe.

The Spaniard was Arsenal’s first manager in the post-Arsene Wenger era. He led the club to the final of the Europa League in 2019 and asked for a new winger that summer.

Arsenal was keen to help him get a player for that position and targeted Zaha as requested.

But they couldn’t reach an agreement with Crystal Palace and made a move for Pepe from Lille, who eventually joined them for £72m.

Emery says that when he moves to a new competition, he tries to sign players who are familiar with it, which is why he wanted to sign Zaha.

He doesn’t argue with the fact that Pepe is a good player, but he knew that it would be easier for Zaha to adapt to the Emirates’ more than Pepe, who was coming from a different country.

‘I usually want to sign first the players I know there,’ Emery told Football London. ‘When we played against Crystal Palace, Zaha showed he was a very good player.

‘I also think Nicolas Pepe is a very good player. When you make the decision you have to decide how easy the adaption will be of some players.

‘I was thinking the adaption was easier for Zaha because he was playing in the Premier League and you didn’t know exactly how fast Nicolas Pepe can adapt to the Premier League because I know you can need some time to adapt.

‘I was thinking at this time that the adaption of Zaha was probably easier and faster than Pepe.’

READ MORE: Can Arsenal really buy a playmaker with this budget?

Tags Nicolas Pepe Unai Emery wilfried zaha


  1. Just Another excuse to cover up his short comings as a top manager .
    I’m sure Wenger wanted this and that player over the years but you would never hear him using that as an excuse .
    The clubs moved on for the better just wish he would as well and stick to commenting on his own team .

    1. Dan yes another excuse from a manager that took us to our first European finals in over 15 years, another excuse from a coach that missed out of the champions league by a single point in his very first season. But the fact that you think Arteta is a better Coach than Emery already says everything I need to know about you. Emery records speak for itself.

      1. I’d have to agree LH. I think if UE had the squad we have now that he would’ve definitely made the UCL places and would of had a much better shot at winning the EL final against Chelsea

      2. That makes no sense ,”Emerys record speaks for itself “
        What losing in a final against Artetas winners medal ,what record are we speaking about ?
        Because what records will show is that Arteta actually won something as an Arsenal manager .
        Emerys cv will always be he got us to an EL final (got hammered by the 1st good team we faced )
        And he missed out on champions league by 1 point (couldnt get that 1point in the last 4 games .
        I’m sure when fans look back at great Arsenal managers Emerys Record will shine through .
        The board have already come out and said with Emery in charge we went through the most difficult time in the clubs history ,their words not mine .

          1. Where did Emery in the article use the non signing of Zaha as an excuse?He only put forward his reasoning for preferring Zaha to Pepe as a transfer option.
            Your taking of every opportunity to take snide shots at a past Arsenal manager is petty in the extreme. Move on, as have Arsenal and Emery.

          2. An Article was put up and I have given my opinion Ozzie ,if you don’t like it scroll on down .
            Maybe take abit if you own advice and move on aswell

          3. You stated above that it was “facts”, not your “opinion”. It is your opinion that Emery is using the signing of Pepe over Zaha, as an excuse, whereas there are no facts in the article to support your opinion.

  2. Pepe and Willian are deadwoods. You dare not include them in the line up today ,Otherwise they will steal time from our precious 90 minutes, killing PACE for Saka, Smith Rowe Auba and Lacazette. Today they should not even sit on the beach please Mr
    Coach.Today is SWIFT ATTACK, ATTACK and ATTACK. Nothing less for 90 minutes. Good luck,!!!!

  3. Emery has proved himself as a Manager and continues to do so. The difficulty in communicating with players and media proved to be a major stumbling block for him together with limitations in his authority when it came to recruitment. In the fullness of time, fans will come to realize that he was not one of the major reasons for the decline of our Club. It looks like we will take a huge hit on Pepe as and when he moves on, but that is not down to Emery.

    1. Grandad some will still not agree with you on that. I can’t believe some arsenal fans really think Emery had any say in our transfer dealings.

    2. Agree. He’s struggled in two clubs abroad now, and seems to thrive with Spanish clubs. It’s clear he has a communication issue with his players & has difficulty earning their respect as a result. And yeh, it was pretty clear at the time the person who followed AW would have little control over transfers. Pepe is 100% not down to him and down to our recriutment instead.

    3. The actual and welcome truth Grandad ! Emery was a good manager who had little real chance here as his hands were tied . His own language difficulties and his very slow learning WERE his own fault. But ONLY that imo.

      His time had come though, almost all because of problems caused by others but his language problems meant he had huge PROPER communication troubles.

      Even on this site, those whose first language is not English often get into major difficulties trying to make clear PRECISELY what they mean. That is not their fault of course but it is often their problem.

      That is WHY I PERSONALLY USE PRECISE LANGUAGE WHEN MAKING ANY SERIOUS POINT. English is a rich and fully expressive language and I always give thanks for being British and thus understanding it perfectly.

  4. No way can anyone blame U£E for the transfer of any player during his 18 months at the club – gazidis and his gang of three took over that role the previous season.

    What he did not do was his job description – as the coach to the players.
    With just two points needed (goal difference to take into account) in order to finish in the top four,he completely messed up the run in and that, along with the europa cup final, defines his record for me.

    Communication and senior players also played a major part in his demise, but he conducted himself in a manner that one can only applaued – he seems to thrive in his home country and I wish him well.

    1. Ken, in my opinion he did attempt to do his job despite the communication issues, the crippling run of injuries he had, particularly in defense and players “downing tools” from the final run to the end of his first season and the Europa League Final.
      As RSH stated, whoever took over from Arsene Wenger was going to have a difficult act to follow. At least Emery took on the challenge.

  5. So let’s g back to Watford away during the early part of the 2019-20 season. We were coasting at 2-0 up, then a Sokritis brain-fart got them back into the game. Caught again trying to play out from the back with players who simply were not able to do this.
    Watford had 32 attempts on goal that afternoon. and we just about held on for a 2-2 draw. How was that performance down to anyone if not Emery. He had coached these players for a season before so why is he not responsible? Watford yiu mat remember we’re relegated that season but Emery gets a free pass why exactly? Our performances under him were awful last season and Dan Kit is correct when saying it was Emery alone who cost us a Top 4 spot and the embarrassment of Bako.
    He has found his level at a second rate Spanish club with zero levels of expectations

    1. Also that is the weakest Spanish league in years the big 2 are going through transition problems due to heavy debt .allowing the smaller teams to get results against them .
      Also will add Villarreal came 5-6 last season so it’s not like he’s brought them fromthe brink of relegation

      1. Yeah exactly DK- Emery flopped at PSG, flopped at Arsenal and whoever feels this is a top level manager needs to think again. Winning the Europa Cup 3 years running is something he is living on. Management is about the NOW not yesterday. It cost him his job and Wenger as well. If he spent more time thinking about what was staring him in the face instead of writing his so called memoirs then the chances are he would have not have dragged us to where we were when we sacked him.

        1. Wenger not Emery writing his memoirs.
          FFS can you imagine reading a book written by Emery? Honestly I would creasote the fence, any fence, every fence, before reading that

  6. “[Emery is a] top manager. His career speaks for itself,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.

    After a career spent playing mostly in Spain’s Segunda División, Emery transitioned into coaching after retiring in 2004. He began at Lorca Deportiva, where he achieved promotion to the Segunda División in his first season. He then joined Almería, who he led to promotion to La Liga for the first time in the club’s history. He subsequently moved to Valencia, leading the team to top-three finishes. After leaving Valencia, he coached Spartak Moscow for six months, before moving to Sevilla in 2013.

    At Sevilla, Emery won an unprecedented three consecutive Europa Leagues, and moved to French club Paris Saint-Germain in 2016. There, he won a Ligue 1 title, two Coupe de France titles, two Coupe de la Ligues, and two Trophée des Champions, which included a domestic quadruple in his second season.

    Enough said!!!

      1. But Wenger could only pick up 23 wins in his opening 50 games meaning a 46% win percentage, which is trounced by Emery’s total of 32 wins and therefore a win percentage of 64%.

        Imagine if the Arsenal higher-ups were as short-sighted with Wenger as they clearly were with Emery…sorry to burst your bubble again little guy

  7. Sacked at PSG where he somehow lost a title in a one horse race.
    Sacked at Arsenal for somehow taking a side Wenger had made a laughing stock into a position even worst.
    Nuff said PAL

    1. Emery has overseen 78 matches across all competitions, winning 43, drawing 16 and losing 19.

      This is an improvement on Wenger’s fortunes over the final 78 games of his reign, as the Frenchman led the team to two fewer victories and four more losses.109 –

      Emery has taken charge of 109 matches at PSG, winning 86 of them. There have been just 11 defeats across all competitions during his reign, with the other 12 matches ending in draws.

      2.46 – That means Emery’s Ligue 1 points per game record at PSG stands at 2.46, the highest figure of any coach in charge of the club. Laurent Blanc (2.35) and Carlo Ancelotti (2.14) also cleared the two points per game mark at PSG.

      Get your facts straight BUD…shouldn’t you know better by now

        1. Holy shit, you’re Phil’s bodyguard or is this part of some demented Big brother, little brother program…maybe, just maybe, if you put your heads together you might not embarrass yourselves again…good luck little guy, lord knows you’ll need it

          1. Sorry Jon junior
            I can think myself buddy I stick to what I believe and not turned by the latest bandwagon to jump on .
            But you should know that being an old poster who’s changed his name to come on here and cause abit of trouble with your overly aggressive posts .
            Anyway I’ve got a game of football I’m looking forward to watching ,so I’ll give you the last word to make you feel like Jon Rambo and we can all go on our merry way .

    2. Phil, the facts are that Arsenal under Unai Emery in his first season improved one place, from sixth to fourth (by one point, or one missed Aubameyang penalty) and improved in the Europa League from beaten semi finalist to beaten finalist).
      By the way on was on record wanting Ancellotti or Allegri, when Emery was signed.

      1. Yeah OG, improvement but not success. Was he not to be responsible for the fact we didn’t get Champions League qualification? He had 4/5 games to get a few points and did not make it, so I cannot call that a success. Also, I do not count losing in any Cup Final as anything for the record book either.

        1. Phil, he lost the dressing room and the players downed tools. Player power has been evident for some time now at Arsenal, since the latter years of Arsene Wenger.

  8. TRVL- you have a very big opinion of yourself PAL. Your always right and nobody has an opinion that counts. You will find yourself in very good company on this site PAL

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