May 26, 2024

 

 

 

 

 

Arsenal have perfect opportunity to finally complete four-year Wilfried Zaha transfer mission

Wilfried Zaha is just hours away from becoming a free agent when his Crystal Palace contract expires, but should he be a transfer target for Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

It’s approaching the four-year anniversary of Nicolas Pepe becoming Arsenal’s record signing.

In the summer of 2019, the Gunners paid £72million to bring the winger to England from Ligue 1 outfit Lille and whilst that fee looks set to be eclipsed by Declan Rice’s £105million move, it’s worth remembering that the club could have signed another Ivory Coast international instead.

Yes, for much of that summer, it seemed for all the world that Wilfried Zaha would end up at the Emirates Stadium following an impressive 2018/19 campaign. In fact, then-Arsenal head coach Unai Emery told football.london that he favoured a move for the Crystal Palace winger but was ultimately overruled by former Head of Football Raul Sanllehi.

With Pepe the younger of the two and available at a similar price, it’s easy to understand the decision-making with regard to the big money transfer at the time. However, almost four years on and the decision has backfired with the winger struggling to live up to his price-tag and football.london have reported that the 28-year-old is free to leave this summer.

The hope is that sporting director Edu Gaspar will be able to secure a fee for Pepe. But after being sidelined with a knee injury for large parts during the second half of the season just gone whilst on loan at Nice, it’s understood that plans have been made for the termination of his contract – which expires next summer – if no offers are forthcoming.

Meanwhile, his compatriot Zaha could also be looking for a new club. Officially a free agent from tonight (June 30) as his Crystal Palace contract expires, according to the Daily Mail, he wants to explore other options and is keen to test himself in the Champions League next season – something Arsenal can offer.

READ MORE: Declan Rice to Arsenal transfer delay explained as Edu continues £105m West Ham talks

Capable of also operating as a centre-forward, the winger certainly ticks all the boxes for what Mikel Arteta would be looking for should he look to bolster his attacking options this summer which remains an option with Kai Havertz being described as a midfielder after completing his £65million move from Chelsea.

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