Merson urges Arsenal to replace £72m man with Crystal Palace talisman

Dan Butterfield
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Arsenal icon Paul Merson has urged his former side to go in for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha to replace record signing Nicolas Pepe.

Zaha has been linked with a move to Arsenal in the past but any deal has failed the materialise with the Gunners not willing to match Palace’s valuation of the star.

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Zaha has shone for the south London side even since re-joining them after a failed spell at Manchester United.

He has consistently been linked with a move away but has so far remained at Selhurst Park.

However, Merson has now urged his old side to bring the Ivory Coast international to the club.

Speaking in his Daily Star column, Merson said: “Arsenal should go back in for Wilfried Zaha and try to sign him from Crystal Palace this summer.

“They wanted him before and missed out. But Zaha wanted to join them and I don’t think he’ll stay at Palace forever. I think he would have made a difference to Arsenal. He’s better than Nicolas Pepe. He draws players towards him and makes things happen.

“It’s a good time for Mikel Arteta to buy him. You’d get him a bit cheaper and he’s a better player now than he was when they tried before. I think Pepe goes this summer if they can find a buyer, and sooner or later they will try Gabriel Martinelli up front.

“So I definitely think there is room for another winger like Zaha in the team, and I think he’d get lots of minutes. I think Zaha makes much better decisions these days. He commits players. And the way Arsenal play, he would free up space for others.

“He would find it easier at Arsenal than he does at Palace because there teams double up on him all the time because he’s the danger man.

“He would be quite shocked how easy he would find it at Arsenal, how much space he would get because teams couldn’t double up on him there.

“They are going to need another winger if they get in the top four. They’re going to play a lot of matches next season if they get back in Europe.

“That means a bigger squad, and I like Zaha, I think he would fit in well there. People say he doesn’t score or assist enough. But I think he does a lot of work that coaches appreciate more than a fan would.”