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Emery: I spoke to Zaha but was given Pepe instead

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The former Arsenal boss gave an interview to the Daily Mail to list his complaints over his 18 month spell at the club.

The Spaniard was positive about his start to his time at the club, saying: “We got back the spirit and there were good performances.

“We played the Europa League final and that is difficult, the previous year Arsenal had been knocked out in semi-finals.”

However Emery was disappointed by the decision not to tie down Aaron Ramsey to a new contract, which saw him leave for Juventus on a free transfer along with other senior players.

“When I arrived at the club I saw Ramsey was going to be very important, he’s a leader on the pitch and in the dressing room and he wanted to stay. Logically he then needed to negotiate a new contract and they didn’t reach an agreement,’ Emery said.

Unai+Emery

“I think, for the team it would have been better if he had carried on, and for me as coach too, because he was the next captain.

“We had allowed [Petr] Cech to go and Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal were allowed to leave. So if Ramsey goes too then all four captains have gone.”

The former PSG manager also had reservations over the signing of Nicolas Pepe, the highly rated winger from Lille. Emery had wanted to sign Zaha from Crystal Palace

“Pepe is a good player but he needs time. When I was there he didn’t give me the performances. I was in favour of someone coming who knew the English league, more than anything so that he wouldn’t need a period of adaptation. I had a meeting with Zaha.

“He was the player I wanted because I could see that he won so many games on his own.

“I saw 20 Zaha games, some incredible performances and I told them that this is the player that I want for this team.

“I spoke to Zaha. I had been with him personally. And he wanted to come.

“But the club decided that Pepe was younger, he was one for the future. I said: yes, but we need to win now and this lad wins games. He did it to us!”

Emery believes that the decision to sign younger players and let older members of the squad go had harmed Granit Xhaka’s chances as captain.

“I believed that Xhaka could be a captain and we gave it to him because the players voted for him to be captain,” explained Emery.

“Xhaka needs time to be a good captain. You don’t win everyone over just like that, you need to earn that credibility.

“If he’d had Koscielny and Nacho [Monreal] alongside him or if he’d had Ramsey, he would have been eased into it.”

Speaking of his difficulties with Mesut Ozil, he said: “In the end he has to look at himself. At his attitude and his commitment.

“I tried my utmost to help Ozil. Throughout my career, talented players have been my favorites and they have played at their best or close to their best with me.

“I was always positive with him in terms of wanting him to be involved, but then the attitude that he adopted, and the commitment levels, well, they weren’t enough.

“One of the captains could possibly have been Ozil but the dressing room didn’t want him to be captain. His level of commitment was not that of someone who deserved to be captain, and that’s not what I decided, that’s what the players decided.”

Emery perhaps inevitably addressed the jibes at his Spanish pronunciation, something that he harbours resentment over.

“Michael Robinson was a fantastic communicator, and we loved to listen to him talk. He never spoke perfect Spanish but we accepted him with his accent and he was much-loved.

“It’s like when I said “good ebening”, okay it should be “good evening”, I needed to practise my accent so that it was more “good evening” than “good ebening”.

“But when I said “good ebening” after a good result it was just a joke, when we were losing it was a disgrace.'”

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PICTURES: Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell join Chelsea training

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Chelsea returned to training today (Wednesday) at Cobham, and there were two new faces joining the rest of the squad, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell. The two summer arrivals had yet to train with the squad since signing, dealing with quarantine (presumably) and heel injury issues, respectively.

It’s unclear if either will be fit and ready for this weekend’s match against Liverpool, but it’s still nice to see them in training with the rest of the group! (Those who played on Monday apparently had a lighter session, but were all out there nonetheless.)

There’s no word on how close Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic may be. Ziyech is probably still a couple weeks out with his knee problem, at least, but Pulisic was supposed to be close before suffering a potential setback with his hamstring late last week. Neither were pictured in training, and one would assume their presence would get emphasized had they been there.

Pointing the way Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Pointing the way Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

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