Unai Emery claims that he was forced to sign record signing Nicolas Pepe

Former Arsenal boss, Unai Emery has continued to deflect the blame for his failure at the club on to the club’s board.

The Spaniard, who was sacked by Arsenal halfway through this season, has now claimed that he didn’t favour a move for Nicolas Pepe and that he instead wanted the club to sign Wilfried Zaha.

Pepe had netted more than 20 goals from the wing for Lille in the French league, and he helped them to qualify for the Champions League.

However, Emery felt that Zaha knew the Premier League more and that he had been single-handedly winning games for Crystal Palace in the competition.

He claimed that he spoke with the former Manchester United flop and Zaha was open to the idea of joining Arsenal.

However, the Arsenal board felt that Pepe was younger and would offer them more in the long term and they signed the 24-year-old instead.

Emery told the Guardian of Pepe: “He’s a good player but we didn’t know his character and he needs time, patience.

“I favoured someone who knew the league and wouldn’t need to adapt.

“Zaha won games on his own: Tottenham, Manchester City, us. Incredible performances. I told them: “This is the player I know and want”.

“I met Zaha and he wanted to come. The club decided Pepe was one for the future. I said: “Yes, but we need to win now and this lad wins games”. He beat us on his own.”

“It’s also true he was expensive and Palace didn’t want to sell.

“There were a series of decisions that had repercussions.”

Pepe has not had the most prolific first season in the Premier League but he has time on his side and I have no doubts that he will come good in time.

This is quite revealing from Emery and does give an insight into some of the hurdles he had to overcome. The interview was honest and frank and while he is full of excuses I found almost everything he had to say was a true reflection of what he had to put up with at the club.

Tags Nicolas Pepe Unai Emery wilfried zaha

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