Arsenal

“Better than Pepe” – Pundit tells Arsenal to go out and sign gamechanger this summer

Former Arsenal star Paul Merson is urging the Gunners to sign Wilfried Zaha this summer and believes the Crystal Palace star would ‘make the difference’ in Mikel Arteta’s side.

Zaha has been a top Arsenal target in the past. Indeed it looked as though a deal would be struck back in 2019 before the Gunners switched targets. They went for Nicolas Pepe instead and Merson believes that was a big mistake.

However he says that Arsenal have a chance to make amends by getting Zaha this summer. Speaking in his column in the Daily Star, Merson believes now is the ideal time to swoop.

Arsenal are thought to have had a £40m bid rejected when they tried the first time. They refused to go any higher and Zaha ended up staying with the Eagles. Instead they splashed out £72m on Pepe.

Bargain signing

Zaha is now 30 but Merson is in no doubt that the winger would be a great signing. The fee will not be as high now and Zaha could represent great value.

“Arsenal should go back in for Wilfried Zaha and try to sign him from Crystal Palace this summer,” Merson wrote. “They wanted him before and missed out. But Zaha wanted to join them and he won’t stay at Palace forever
I think he would have made a difference to Arsenal. He’s better than Nicolas Pepe. He draws players towards him and makes things happen.”

Pepe has struggled for consistent game-time this season. However the same cannot be said of Zaha.

He is doing the business for the Eagles this season with 10 goals and two assists in 27 games. That compares to Pepe’s three goals and five assists in 18 appearances. And Merson knows who he would sooner have.

“You’d get him a bit cheaper and he’s a better player now than he was when they tried before,” he added. “I think Pepe goes this summer if they can find a buyer, and sooner or later they will try Gabriel Martinelli up front.”

Arsenal face competition

Arsenal will no doubt face competition if Palace are open to selling Zaha. Both Tottenham and Everton have also been linked.