One transfer rumor that would never go away is the Wilifred Zaha rumoured move to Arsenal. The Gunners have been perpetually linked with a move for the Ivorian winger after his impressive performance for fellow Londoners, Crystal Palace. Last summer, the Gunners were severely linked with a move for him, with former manager Unai Emery, a huge fan.
“We signed Pepe,” Emery told The Guardian “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.”
The Gunners tried landing him but was put back by the valuation of Crystal Palace which was 70million Pounds. Arsenal baulked at that price but ironically, signed another Ivorian winger, Nicholas Pepe from French side, Lille for 78million Pounds.
Another season has ended, another summer window is here and yet again, Wilifred Zaha is in the market, looking for a new club and courting Arsenal again. Reports have it that the Ivorian’s price tag is much lower, reasons could be the effect of the pandemic on the finances of Palace or the desperation of their talisman to leave the club. Should Arsenal pounce?
The Gunners have just confirmed the signing of Willian, a player that has been primed to play in the attacking midfield position despite being adept at playing on the wings.
Last summer signing, Pepe seems to have made the right wing his own after finishing the season strong and getting into double figures for goal contributions. There is yet another rookie being forged into a legend in the Arsenal ludus under the tutelage of Mikel Arteta, Bukayo Saka. The English youngster had a good season for the Gunners and peaked it with a much anticipated ccontract extension. He is definitely looking forward to more games next season.
How about Brazilian enterprising youngster, Gabriel Martinelli who missed the entire restart no thanks to injuries. Before the injury, he was also staking a claim to the left wing position and with good results to show, the claim cannot be waved away.
In the just completed season, Zaha boasted just 9 goals contribution ( 4 goals and 5 assists) for Palace in 39 matches across all competitions and that is less than Pepe who had 18 goals contributions (8 goals and 10 assists) in 42 appearances, Bukayo Saka who had 15 goals contributions (4 goals and 11 assists) in 39 appearances, Gabrielli Martinelli who posted 14 goals contributions in 26 appearances in all competitions and Willian, Arsenal’s latest acquisition boasted 20 goals (11 goals and 9 assists) contribution in 47 appearances Why then do Arsenal need Zaha?
That he is available even for a cut price does not mean Arsenal should take a plunge at him and splash out the cash. Arsenal have many holes to plug but limited cash to dispense. Hence, judicious spending should be expended on necessities that would add value on the pitch not luxuries that would only fulfill long time ambition. Loving Arsenal is good but do you have the talent to play there?
At 27, Zaha is no longer a youngster and if he cannot be posting higher stats, he might just not be good enough for a big club. For all that it is worth, Arsenal do not need Zaha, they already have ample options and competitions there. What Arsenal should be going for are center backs and an attacking midfielder so they can have a “Partey”.