Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast forward, Wilfried Zaha, has revealed he had conversations with former Arsenal coach Unai Emery over a potential switch to the Emirates before the Gunners chiefs signed Nicolas Pepe.
Zaha is always the news as regards a transfer out of Crystal Palace to a top side and Arsenal are the most linked with the former United youngster.
The Anglo Ivorian winger had successful talks with Emery but despite the positive conversation the chiefs opted for another Ivorian International.
The Gunners signed Nicolas Pepe for club record fee of £72m from french side Lille.
Zaha explained how the failed transfer occured on Jamie Carragher’s ‘The Greatest Game’ podcast (via Metro).
He said: “I had a conversation with the manager, actually.
“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.”
The 28 year-old believes he was overlooked because he was a known face in the Premier League.
“Yeah, 100 per cent,” he said when asked if players from foreign leagues are preferred.
“You’re seeing a player come from Brazil or another league, they’re always going to attract more attention. But 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 totally understand what you mean. 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’.”
Everton had a bid for Zaha rejected in the summer of 2019 and he has consistently been linked with a move away.