Former Crystal Palace manager, Ian Holloway has disclosed his disappointments in Arsenal choosing Nicolas Pepe over Wilfried Zaha.
Ian Holloway disclosed that Wilfried Zaha has proved he’s worth Champions League games after producing series of good performances season by season.
Zaha had been linked to a move to Arsenal but Gunners’ current move of almost finalizing a £72m Nicolas Pepe deal just bashed the links.
As surprised as Holloway is, he shared with Goal that Zaha is way much better than Pepe and he knows what what Zaha is capable of.
Although, Arsenal would be considered to had made an effort but apparently they priced way to low compared to Zaha’s actual valuation, £40m for Zaha qualities? Nah. absolutely not worth the talent.
Nicolas Pep instead of Zaha is actually a very wrong choice, according to Holloway who shared that he would be very disappointed not to see the Ivorian in the Champions League.
“I am very surprised that Arsenal rate Nicolas Pepe better than Wilfried Zaha,” Holloway told Goal at the launch of EFL on Quest. “I certainly don’t. I would be very sad if I don’t ever see Wilfried Zaha playing in the Champions League.” Holloway said to Goal
“I feel he is good enough for anyone in the world, including the teams that get there. At the moment Everton can’t get to the Champions League. There is no wrong way to go about getting a move these days. I thought he had his best season ever last year.
“He is starting to add the end product to his performances. He has been handled fantastically well by [Crystal Palace manager and assistant] Roy Hodgson and Ray Lewington. The experience that those two have got, they were smart enough to move him from one of the wide areas to be centre forward.
“If you leave him on his own with your last man when you are dominating the ball then you can be in trouble if Palace win it back. So it is all about end product with him, I always think ‘come on son, you can do that’. I see maturity in his play now.” He continued.
“I believe at the very, very top level, if he plays with a team that can keep the ball away from you, who also win it back very quickly and dominate a game [he’ll do well]. If you give him the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box then he can win games, even for Manchester City.
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“He would have to learn what the likes of Pep Guardiola want but I think he would [do well at the top level]. He is good enough for any team in the Premier League now. I may be biased because I have seen him close at hand.
“He is one I would pay to watch. He is trying to shine and I have all the time in the world for him.”
Holloway also recalled the moment he first set eyes on Zaha during his time at Palace and how when he was told about the former Manchester United winger’s talents, he wasn’t sure he’d be as good as he is.
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“The first time I heard about Wilf was when I got the job,” Holloway added. “I stayed down near Palace with my wife at one of the director’s houses. He was telling me: ‘Have you seen Wilf? He is brilliant’. I am sat at Palace having just managed Blackpool in the Premier League.” The former manager added.
“I didn’t say it out loud but I thought ‘I have had Tom Ince and Matt Phillips’. I thought those two were fantastic and Wilf wouldn’t be as good. The first game I saw him, he flicked the ball over someone like he wasn’t there. He has still got it and still does it.
“He can do things with his brain that are on another level. His speed over a tackling distance is as quick as I have ever seen. He will leave you and then you can’t get there. Palace fans have a song saying: ‘He’s just too good for you’. I didn’t believe that was true but I do now.” Holloway ended.