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Arsenal are reportedly interested in buying Wilfried Zaha even though they have no money, he’ll cost £70m, and they bought Nicolas Pepe last summer despite Unai Emery really wanting Zaha.
Yes, it’s back.
Despite having to listen to months of this nonsense last summer only for Arsenal to end up surprising everybody by spending £72m on Nicolas Pepe instead, the Gunners are apparently interested in signing Zaha again.
Now, there is no way Arsenal don’t know his price tag. There is no way that the journalists who started this rumour back up don’t know that Arsenal know Zaha’s price tag. They also know that Unai Emery was the driver behind that move.
Crystal Palace are said to be open to offers for the forward, as long as they’re in the region of £70m. They know Zaha wants to leave but, as they showed last summer, they have a price in mind for the player and aren’t inclined to move from it while he is still under contract and at the peak of his value, despite how much he wanted to join Arsenal.
Here are Zaha’s stats for the season:
Here are Pepe’s before the FA Cup final:
Pepe, in his first season in a new league at a new club in a new country that speaks a different language has twice as many goals as Zaha and almost twice as many assists.
Yes, yes, I know Zaha plays for Palace, but do you remember who Arsenal’s boss was for most of this season and how little attacking football we played?
Arsenal had a total of 390 shots in the league this season. Palace? 363.
As they are both attacking players it is absolutely right we judge them on goals and assists.
But let’s look at some other metrics in case that isn’t enough for you.
Zaha is Palace’s Top Rated player on WhoScored for the season with 6.98. At Arsenal, Pepe also finished top with 7.06, ahead of Emi Martinez who has 7.02 and Auba on 7.03.
That’s right, the player who is described by large sections of the media as not really being up to much has a better per-game performance rate than the player everybody would agree is the best at Arsenal by some distance.
Pepe also averages 1.6 shots per game, the same as Zaha so it’s not like the Arsenal man is lucking out from shooting loads.
Pepe wins 0.6 of his headers while Zaha wins only 0.3. That’s twice as many or half as much, depending on your view.
Pepe has been Man of the Match seven times. Zaha? Twice.
Pepe’s pass success rate is 81.2% while Zaha’s is nearly identical at 81% exactly.
Pepe has played 956 domestic minutes fewer than Zaha, that’s 10-and-a-half full games.
When it comes to control, Pepe even has Zaha beat in that category as well. While the Ivorian demonstrates bad ball control, on average, 1.7 times per match, Zaha’s rate is double that at 3.4.
Pepe is also only dispossessed around 1.5 times per match while Zaha is positively wasteful with 3.9. That’s twice as good or half as good, again, depending on your view.
So, that’s more goals and assists from far fewer minutes for Pepe, who controls the ball better, loses it less often, wins twice as many headers as Zaha and wins the MotM more than three times as often.
If only we’d paid that extra £8m to land the almost 28-year-old Zaha instead of the just-turned-25 Pepe, last sumemr eh?
Sure, why not just splash £70m on him this year instead?