Arsenal icon Paul Merson has urged the Gunners to make another attempt to sign Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha ahead of the two sides’ clash on Monday. The north London side have been linked with a move for the Ivorian winger on a number of occasions but have never quite managed to agree a deal.
Zaha has revealed that the prospect of a move was certainly on the cards in the summer of 2019 – only for Arsenal to go in a different direction and sign Nicolas Pepe for a club-record fee. Now, in evaluating the Gunners’ potential future business Merson has suggested that Zaha outperforms his international teammate and urged Arsenal to make a fresh play for Zaha’s signature at some point in the future.
Writing for The Daily Star, he said: “Arsenal should go back in for Wilfried Zaha and try to sign him from Crystal Palace this summer. 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.”
Zaha, 29, has long been an inspirational figure for Palace ever since they returned to the Premier League. In 255 top-flight appearances for the club, he has scored 56 goals and notched a further 40 assists.
He is in the midst of another impressive season with nine goals to his name already – just two fewer than his best total in Premier League football. Even before the 2021/22 campaign kicked-off, another Gunners icon Emmanuel Petit was instructing Arsenal to make a move for the Palace man.
Speaking with Paddy Power back in June, the Frenchman said: “Zaha is an unpredictable player, you don’t know what he’s going to do with the ball. He’s got a strong character, and sometimes he needs to control of his emotions, but he’s exactly the kind of player Arsenal need. He’d get the fans excited and stimulate his own team-mates too.
“For ages, Arsenal haven’t had a player who could dribble or make a difference with the ball at his feet. With Zaha, they would have somebody capable of taking responsibility and not scared to take on defenders.”
Zaha is a doubt for Crystal Palace ahead of their clash with Arsenal having picked up a problem whilst on international duty.