RAY PARLOUR still dreams Arsenal will sign ‘special talent’ Wilfried Zaha.
Ex-Gunners boss Unai Emery claims he wanted the Crystal Palace attacker ahead of Nicolas Pepe in August 2019 – and Zaha himself admits he would ‘love’ to have joined.
Instead Pepe has spluttered since his club-record £72m arrival from Lille, while Ivory Coast team-mate Zaha is in rampant form this season.
And former Arsenal midfielder Parlour believes wideman Zaha, 28, is currently almost untameable in full flight.
He told Stadium Astro: “I’m sure Emery would have loved to have someone like Zaha but again it’s down to the board and money available.
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“Pepe, they did that in a staggered way, probably paying £15million a year, which suited the French side where he came from.
‘Probably Crystal Palace wanted the money up front, which Arsenal couldn’t have done at that time… because if you (Palace) lose your best player you need to replace him.”
Parlour feels Zaha showed why the Gunners would benefit from his skills in Thursday night’s 0-0 draw between the two teams at the Emirates.
He said: “He got frustrated at times, where they tried to kick him. We saw David Luiz going back and he reacted at times, but we all know what a special talent he is.
“When he’s running at you full pelt… I wouldn’t like to play against him as a defender.
“You know he makes things happen, he goes down, he gets free-kicks in good areas, he can get penalties at times.
“He’s a real talent. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see him in an Arsenal shirt.”
Pepe, 25, only came on as a sub while lively Zaha played the whole 90 minutes.
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And over the whole campaign so far Zaha has amassed eight goals plus two assists, compared to Pepe netting just twice.
He said: ”He was like, ‘Yeah we’d love to have you’ and I was just like, ‘Yeah I’d love to come’.
“Obviously, it was up to the club who they chose. And they chose Pepe over me.”
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Yet Emery has now insisted Zaha was his original first-choice.
The Spaniard was reported by Football London as saying: “I was thinking at this time that the adaptation of Zaha was probably easier and faster than Pepe.”
But whatever the finer points of that debate two years ago, and whatever Pepe’s development in the future, few would disagree that Zaha would benefit Arsenal more right now.
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Ray Parlour would ‘love’ Arsenal to sign ‘special talent’ Wilfried Zaha but fears Crystal Palace won’t allow transfer have 736 words, post on www.thesun.co.uk at January 15, 2021. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.