Football News

Wilfried Zaha better than Arsenal new boy Nicolas Pepe – Holloway

By Steve Jennings

Published: 12:25, 2 August 2019

Wilfried Zaha’s former manager Ian Holloway insists the Crystal Palace forward is better than Arsenal’s new record signing Nicolas Pepe.

The Gunners completed a £72m move for Pepe on Thursday after being linked with Zaha for most of the summer, all but ending the chances of a deal for Palace’s talisman.

Could Arsenal still buy Zaha after signing Pepe? Five key things to know…

  • Zaha has been linked with Arsenal throughout the summer after it emerged he was a boyhood fan of the club.
  • Palace reportedly turned down an initial offer from the Gunners and are still demanding £80m for their star player.
  • Everton have also been credited with an interest in Zaha and are said to have seen a bid of their own rejected.
  • Arsenal suddenly turned their attention to Nicolas Pepe of Lille and completed a record deal for the Ivorian on Thursday.
  • With a modest transfer budget, it seems unlikely the Londoners will be able to afford Zaha after splashing out on Pepe.

Holloway coached Zaha between 2012-2013 during the pair’s time together at Palace. Zaha helped the Eagles reach the Premier League via the Championship play-offs before joining Manchester United.

The Ivory Coast international didn’t make any Champions League appearances for United, something Holloway believes he is capable of.

“I am very surprised that Arsenal rate Nicolas Pepe better than Wilfried Zaha,” Holloway told Goal.

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“I certainly don’t. I would be very sad if I don’t ever see Wilfried Zaha playing in the Champions League.”

Arsenal will play in the Europa League this term with the aim of securing Champions League football for the 2020/21 season.

And Holloway insists Zaha can play for a better team than Everton, who have struggled to compete for a place in the top four in recent years.

He added: “I feel he is good enough for anyone in the world, including the teams that get there (the Champions League). At the moment Everton can’t get to the Champions League.

“There is no wrong way to go about getting a move these days. I thought he had his best season ever last year.”

Everton are close to signing Moise Kean from Juventus and are now being linked with Mainz midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin.