The Arsenal manager wants the club to break the bank in this window and make the record signing of Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.
The Arsenal board have been apparent with their approach for the summer window after sanctioning a modest budget for Unai Emery to spend on new recruits. Now according to The Sun, manager Unai Emery has reportedly pleaded with the board to break the bank and sign Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha to make a statement of intent for next season.
With the meagre £45 million summer budget, a quiet transfer window for Arsenal was on the cards. This could change if the Arsenal board accepts Emery’s request to sign Zaha this summer. While the budget is far from enticing, Zaha would undoubtedly cost more than the total money available to spend. Emery wants the club to make a statement of intent by signing the marquee star for next season.
Even before last season ended, Emery had been impressed by Zaha’s performances as Arsenal were ready to make a £40 million move. But since, Crystal Palace have upped the price-tag on the Ivory Coast International and put Zaha beyond’s Arsenal’s reach. Hence Emery was forced to look elsewhere, but there have been no development so far on signing a winger.
In recent developments, deals for Yannick Carrasco from Chinese club Dalian Yifang and Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser have broken down, thus forcing Emery to plead with Arsenal to make Zaha a priority. Zaha will reportedly cost around £55 million, and the player himself would be keen, considering he’s been a boyhood Arsenal fan.
After a previously failed stint with Manchester United earlier in his career, the 26-year-old has reportedly set his heart on moving to a bigger club with ambitions. Arsenal, on the other hand, for all their aspirations, cannot offer Champions League football, but with the Europa League, they sure can provide a challenging situation to qualify for the top competition.
Additionally, after losing Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck to free transfers, Arsenal have a shortage of homegrown players. Zaha, despite his allegiance to Ivory Coast national team, is still considered a homegrown talent, which will boost Arsenal’s ranks. Moreover, since Alexis Sanchez’ departure, Arsenal have missed a player who can contribute from wide areas.
Zaha’s statistics are proof of his standards after yet another stellar season with Palace. The Ivorian scored 10 goals and provided as many assists as Crystal Palace finished in 12th place in the league. Last season at Arsenal, Alex Iwobi plays in Zaha’s position, and the Ivorian will surely be a significant upgrade to the Nigerian.
Its unclear whether Arsenal will listen to Emery’s calls to break the bank. Alternatively, Emery could sell some of his existing players to generate funds for Zaha. But without Champions League football and any clear chances of competing for the Premier League title, will Zaha choose to join Arsenal over some other clubs who might be interested in him, notably Tottenham?