'Arsenal chose £72m Pepe over me'

English Premier League

Wilfried Zaha claims Arsenal chose his Ivory Coast teammate Nicolas Pepe who was signed for a club-record £72-million over him.

The Gunners made Pepe the most expensive African footballer of all-time when they lured him from LOSC Lille in August 2019 after a sensational Ligue 1 campaign.

Pepe netted 22 goals and registered 11 assists as they finished runners-up to Paris Saint-Germain but has struggled in the Premier League to the point where he's lost his place in Mikel Arteta's starting line-up.

And Zaha, who's starred in the division over the past decade reveals the former Gunners boss Unai Emery made the decision against signing him.

Scroll through the gallery below to see the most expensive African transfers of all-time

"I had a conversation with the manager," the 28-year-old told Jamie Carragher’s The Greatest Game Podcast.

"Emery was just like, 'we don't really need to go through much'. He said he’d seen me play, he knows I can change games at any time and stuff like that.

"He was like, 'yeah we'd love to have you' and I was just like, 'yeah I'd love to come'. The conversation was rather straightforward because I played against him when he was manager of Arsenal.

"He saw what I could do, saw my work-rate, and what I could add to the team. Obviously, it was up to the club who they chose - and they chose Pepe over me."

Pepe has scored 13 goals and registered as many assists in 62 games for the London-based outfit since his arrival.

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