Unai Emery reveals that he did not want to sign Nicolas Pepe. The former Arsenal manager preferred another Ivorian last summer.
Arsenal had finished 5th in the Premier League and had finished runners up in the Europa League. The Gunners missed out on Champions League football once again. However, it looked like the club was heading in the right direction after all.
However, everything changed in a few months and Arsenal endured their worst start to a Premier League campaign that ultimately ended in Unai Emery losing his job as the manager.
The Spaniard, who was tasked with the job of replacing Arsene Wenger at North London and rebuilding Arsenal, has now revealed that the club did not go for the player he wanted and instead overruled his decision to bring in a winger who was already accustomed to the Premier League.
Unai Emery reveals that he did not want to sign Nicolas Pepe
“We signed (Nicolas) 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.
“[Wilfried] 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 Pépé 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 Spaniard did concede however, that Zaha would have been an expensive purchase with Crystal Palace determined to hold on to their prized winger.
“It’s also true he was expensive and Palace didn’t want to sell,” Emery said. “There were a series of decisions that had repercussions.”
Pepe has so far had a mixed season with Arsenal. While he has shown glimpses of what he’s capable of, he is yet to find the form that persuaded the Gunners into buying him in the first place. The Ivorian winger has so far featured in 32 games for Arsenal and has netted 6 times.
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