Arsenal and Chelsea could face a late transfer tug-of-war over Wilfried Zaha with two London clubs both understood to have the Crystal Palace talisman in their sights. The Gunners are thought to have revived their interest in the winger Unai Emery pushed to sign back in 2019, while the Blues are said to have identified him as an alternative option should they fail to conclude deals for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Anthony Gordon.
Heading into the final days of the summer window, Mikel Arteta reportedly remains in the market for a winger having missed out on former Leeds wideman Raphinha to Barcelona. The current Premier League pacesetters are now understood to be eyeing a late deal for either Wolves’ Pedro Neto or Villarreal’s Yeremy Pino, but should they fail in the pursuit of the pair, it is thought they could return for long-time target Zaha.
Speaking on The Done Deal Show, transfer expert Dean Jones revealed: “They’re not the only two names they’re looking at [Neto and Pino]. In the background, there is Wilfried Zaha.
“That deal is not moving forward at the moment, but Zaha is definitely one of those players that ticks the boxes and that Arsenal have an eye on. We will have to wait and see if they go down that path, Zaha is obviously in red-hot form at the moment.”
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The Gunners aren’t Zaha’s only admirers however. London rivals Chelsea are also understood to be eyeing the 29-year-old as an alternative, should they fail with their respective transfer plans before Thursday’s deadline. The Blues are continuing to push to sign Aubameyang from Barcelona and Gordon from Everton.
According to the Evening Standard, Chelsea have revived their interest in Zaha, but are only likely to move for the winger, who has entered the final year of his contract in South London, should they fall short in their efforts to capture their top two attacking targets. It is thought both deals are on track to be concluded in the coming days.
Should Arsenal emerge victorious in the battle for Zaha’s signature, they would be landing a player they hotly pursued back in 2019. At the time, former Gunners boss Emery pushed to sign the Ivory Coast international, but Palace’s staunch resistance saw a club-record deal for Nicolas Pepe completed instead.
A year after his Arsenal sacking, Emery opened up on his admiration for Zaha to football.london. The Spaniard confessed: “I usually want to sign first the players I know there. When we played against Crystal Palace, Zaha showed he was a very good player.
“I also think Nicolas Pepe is a very good player. When you make the decision you have to decide how easy the adaption will be of some players. I was thinking the adaption was easier for Zaha because he was playing in the Premier League.
“You didn’t know exactly how fast Nicolas Pepe can adapt to the Premier League because I know you can need some time to adapt. I was thinking at this time that the adaption of Zaha was probably easier and faster than Pepe.”