Arsenal made a huge splash in the transfer window by reaching an agreement with Lille over Nicolas Pepe, one of the most pursuit players of the English Premier League.
Pepe is a versatile forward and a goal-scoring threat that could help Unai Emery’s team take a major step forward next season, but according to former Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway, the Gunners are making a huge mistake by signing him.
Holloway believes the London team chose the wrong Ivory Coast international, as they should’ve made a move for Wilfried Zaha instead:
“I am very surprised that Arsenal rate Nicolas Pepe better than Wilfried Zaha. I certainly don’t. I would be very sad if I don’t ever see Wilfried Zaha playing in the Champions League. I feel he is good enough for anyone in the world, including the teams that get there. 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”, Holloway told Goal during an interview.
Holloway continued to praise the former Manchester United flop as one of the best players he’s ever coached, claiming he has what it takes to take a top-tier team to a Championship:
“I believe at the very, very top level if he plays with a team that can keep the ball away from you, who also win it back very quickly and dominates a game (he’ll do well). If you give him the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box then he can win games, even for Manchester City.
He would have to learn what the likes of Pep Guardiola want but I think he would (succeed at the top level). He is good enough for any team in the Premier League now. I may be biased because I have seen him close at hand. He is one I would pay to watch. He is trying to shine and I have all the time in the world for him,” he concluded.
Zaha is coming off a strong season with 10 goals and 10 assists in 36 caps for Crystal Palace, but that’s far from impressive compared to Pepe’s 23 goals and 12 assists in 41 appearances, and he also happens to be 2 years younger than Zaha, so it looks like Arsenal made the right choice here.