Wilfried Zaha says it was a ‘no-brainer’ for Arsenal to sign him in 2019 (Getty)

Wilfried Zaha has revealed he held talks with Unai Emery over a move to Arsenal and believes it was a ‘no-brainer’ for the Gunners to sign him ahead of Nicolas Pepe.

Arsenal came close to signing Zaha in the summer of 2019 but instead the Gunners opted to spend a club-record £72 million on Nicolas Pepe.

Pepe has struggled to make an impact following his move from Lille and Zaha believes his vast experience in the Premier League should have convinced Arsenal to favour a move for him.

Last year, Emery revealed that his preference was for Arsenal to sign Zaha ahead of Pepe because he wanted a player who could immediately make an impact for the team.

And Zaha has claimed his talks with Emery were ‘straightforward’.

‘I had a conversation with the manager, actually,’ Zaha said on The Greatest Game with Jamie Carragher podcast.

Unai Emery wanted Arsenal to sign Wilfried Zaha ahead of Nicolas Pepe (Getty)

‘He was just like, ‘we don’t need to go through much’. He’s seen me play, he knows I can change games at any time and stuff like that. It was like, ‘yeah, we’d love to have you’. And I was just like, ‘I’d love to come’.

‘The conversation was rather straightforward because I’ve played against him when he’s managed Arsenal, he’s seen what I can do, he’s seen my work rate, what I can add to the team.

‘Obviously, it was up to the club who they chose, and obviously they chose Pepe over me.’

Arsenal opted to spend £72m on Nicolas Pepe instead of signing Wilfried Zaha (Getty)

Asked if he believes clubs are drawn into signing an overseas player ahead of a similar talent in the Premier League, Zaha replied: ‘Yeah, 100 per cent. You’re seeing a player come from Brazil or another league, they’re always going to attract more attention.

‘But I just think if there’s a player who plays in the Premier League who you see week in, week out, and you know what he does… I feel like it’s a no-brainer.

‘The other leagues, I feel like they are totally different, in the Prem there are no easy games whatsoever. Every team is going to give you a run for your money. There’s no game where you’re going to go, ‘yeah, we’re going to win 5-0’.

‘That’s my thought. I totally understand what you mean. I feel like when players come from abroad, I don’t know, they just have that edge with clubs, it’s just like [they say], ‘yeah, I may want him a bit more because he’s from there’.’

Zaha also revealed that he supported Arsenal as a youngster and only stopped following the Gunners after he joined Manchester United in 2013.

‘I supported Arsenal when I was growing up, my whole family supported Arsenal, actually,’ said Zaha.

‘It’s only when I moved to Man United that I stopped supporting anyone in general.

‘I was still rooting for them [during my first spell at Palace], but when I went to Man United I feel like it’s a whole different mindset over there because you’re competing against these teams now, so you can’t be much of a fanboy like you were before, so that’s when my mentality changed.’

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