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‘Arsenal making a Big mistake signing £72m Pepe’

Wilfried Zaha’s former manager Ian Holloway has suggested Arsenal have made the wrong choice in landing Nicolas Pepe instead of the Crystal Palace winger.
Ian Holloway, who coached the Ivory Coast star when he was in charge at Crystal Palace, says he’s surprised they’ve moved the Lille star instead
The Ivory Coast international produced one of his best seasons yet with Palace last term but he has been targeting a move to a Champions League club this summer.

Indeed, the Gunners had a £40 million ($50m) offer rejected by the Eagles who claimed the bid fell way short of their star man’s valuation.

Unai Emery’s side ultimately decided to switch their focus to Pepe, whom they have agreed a club-record £72m deal, leaving Zaha’s hopes of a move to the Emirates dashed.

“I am very surprised that Arsenal rate Nicolas Pepe better than Wilfried Zaha,” Holloway told Goal at the launch of EFL on Quest. “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.

“He is starting to add the end product to his performances. He has been handled fantastically well by [Crystal Palace manager and assistant] Roy Hodgson and Ray Lewington. The experience that those two have got, they were smart enough to move him from one of the wide areas to be centre forward.

“If you leave him on his own with your last man when you are dominating the ball then you can be in trouble if Palace win it back. So it is all about end product with him, I always think ‘come on son, you can do that’. I see maturity in his play now.

“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 dominate 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.

About Ayeni Wale

Olawale Ayeni, is a Media and Communication Arts, Masters in view fellow, a graduate of Theatre Arts from the University of Abuja respectively, has been in journalism right from his school days. He was a sports broadcaster with Osun state Broadcasting Corporation (OSBC). He was Sports Editor, Daily Stream Newspaper before joining Leadership Newspaper as Sports Correspondent. A lover of grassroots sports development and golf. A strong support of Arsenal FC.

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