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EPL: Unai Emery reveals player he wanted Arsenal to sign instead of Pepe

EPL: Unai Emery reveals player he wanted Arsenal to sign instead of Pepe

Former Arsenal manager, Unai Emery, has revealed he wanted the club to sign Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace instead of Nicolas Pepe.

Pepe became the Gunners’ record signing, when he completed a £72million move from Lille last summer.

However, the Ivorian winger struggled to live up to that price tag in the early stages of the season.

Pepe netted just one goal from the penalty spot in his first 12 Premier League appearances, with the last of those coming in Emery’s final game against Southampton.

His form has, however, improved under Mikel Arteta and he has scored three times in the league since the Spaniard took charge.

Emery says he was always worried the 24-year-old would take time to adapt.

“We signed Pepe. He’s a good player but we didn’t know his character and he needs time, patience,” Emery told The Guardian.

“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.”

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