Last summer Arsenal were in the market for a winger to add goals and creativity from the wide areas.
The Gunners were heavily linked with Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, who had made clear he wanted to leave Selhurst Park.
But the £85million price tag for the Ivory Coast star meant Arsenal walked away from the deal and went for Nicolas Pepe, according to The Express.
Upon Pepe’s arrival, Unai Emery was quoted as saying: “Nicolas is a highly-rated and talented winger who was wanted by many top teams in Europe.
“Signing a top-class winger has been one of our key objectives in this transfer window and I’m delighted he’s joining. He will add pace, power and creativity, with the aim of bringing more goals to our team.”
But after a bright start to his career, Pepe’s form dropped off and Emery began leaving the attacker out of the team.
And in what would be Emery’s final game charge, a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt, Pepe was an unused substitute.
Since then Pepe’s form has picked up under new manager Mikel Arteta but question marks remain over how to get the best out of him.
Meanwhile at Palace, before the coronavirus enforced break, Zaha had scored just three goals in 30 appearances.
During an interview with the Guardian about his ill-fated spell at Arsenal, Emery explained why he didn’t want to sign Pepe.
He said: “We signed Pepe. He’s a good player but we didn’t know his character and he needs time, patience.
“I favoured someone who knew the league and wouldn’t need to adapt.”
Emery then revealed how Zaha’s match-winning display for Palace against Arsenal in 2019 was why he was so keen on him.
He added: “Zaha won games on his own: Tottenham, Manchester City, us. Incredible performances.
“I told them: ‘This is the player I know and want.’ I met Zaha and he wanted to come. The club decided Pépé was one for the future.
“I said: ‘Yes, but we need to win now and this lad wins games.’ He beat us on his own.
“It’s also true he was expensive and Palace didn’t want to sell. There were a series of decisions that had repercussions.