Arsenal report: Wilfried Zaha set for free transfer – after fateful meeting with former Gunners boss

Arsenal target Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace reacts after a missed scoring opportunity during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on March 19, 2023 in London, England.
(Image credit: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Arsenal are set to move for Wilfried Zaha this summer, as the Crystal Palace forward comes to the end of his current contract. 

30-year-old Zaha will become a free agent at the end of the current campaign, seeing the bumper deal that he penned in 2018 finally expire. Over that time, Crystal Palace have reportedly fended off plenty of interest in their Ivorian talisman – most notably from Arsenal, themselves. 

Now, French outlet Foot Mercato says that the Gunners have rekindled interest, four years after signing Nicolas Pepe instead of Zaha when they had the chance. 

Most expensive British signing

Nicolas Pepe joined Arsenal – and not Wilf Zaha (Image credit: Getty)

Back in 2019, the forward was reportedly high up on the shortlist to join the Gunners. Ultimately, the decision was made to sign Nicolas Pepe instead – much to the frustration of the manager at the time.

"We signed Pepe," Unai Emery told The Guardian "He’s a good player but we didn’t know his character and he needs time, patience.

"I favoured someone who knew the league and wouldn’t need to adapt. Zaha won games on his own: Tottenham, Manchester City, us. Incredible performances. I told them: ‘This is the player I know and want.’

"I met Zaha and he wanted to come. The club decided Pepe was one for the future. I said: ‘Yes, but we need to win now and this lad wins games.’ He beat us on his own."

Unai Emery

Unai Emery met with Wilf Zaha – and nearly signed him for Arsenal (Image credit: Getty)

After coming through the ranks at Palace, Zaha moved to Manchester United in 2013 – but returned two years later. The Mail have reported that the forward has turned down multiple contract offers to remain at Selhurst Park, making a move this summer extremely likely. 

Zaha is valued at €27m by Transfermarkt

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.