Wilfried Zaha has revealed he would have “loved” to join Arsenal in the summer of 2019, and thinks it should have been a “no-brainer” for the club to sign him over Nicolas Pepe.
Zaha was strongly linked with a move to the Gunners ahead of the 2019/20 season, only to end up staying at Crystal Palace as the Gunners decided to spend their money on a club-record £72m deal for Pepe.
Reflecting on the failed move, Zaha told Jamie Carragher on The Greatest Games podcast: “I had a conversation with the manager.
“He was just like, ‘we don’t need to go through much’. He’s seen me play, he knows I can change games at any time and stuff like that. It was like, ‘yeah, we’d love to have you’. And I was just like, ‘I’d love to come’.
“The conversation was rather straightforward because I’ve played against him when he’s managed Arsenal, he’s seen what I can do, he’s seen my work-rate, what I can add to the team.
“Obviously, it was up to the club who they chose, and obviously they chose Pepe over me.”
Reflecting on Arsenal’s decision, Zaha said he feels it would have been a “no-brainer” to choose a Premier League player over a player coming from another league.
I JUST THINK IF THERE’S A PLAYER WHO PLAYS IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE WHO YOU SEE WEEK IN, WEEK OUT, AND YOU KNOW WHAT HE DOES… I FEEL LIKE IT’S A NO-BRAINER.
“The other leagues, I feel like they are totally different, in the Prem there are no easy games whatsoever. Every team is going to give you a run for your money. There’s no game where you’re going to go, ‘yeah, we’re going to win 5-0’.
“That’s my thought… I feel like when players come from abroad, I don’t know, they just have that edge with clubs, it’s just like [they say], ‘yeah, I may want him a bit more because he’s from there’.”