Emery: 'Arsenal wanted Fabinho before Liverpool move'

Arsenal lost to Liverpool in the battle to sign Fabinho, whose development should ensure patience for Nicolas Pepe, according to Unai Emery.

Liverpool midfielder Fabinho   -  Getty Images

Unai Emery has revealed Arsenal tried to sign Fabinho before his transfer to Liverpool in 2018.

Brazil international Fabinho moved from Monaco to Anfield before the start of last season for a fee reportedly rising to more than £40million.

The defensive midfielder did not start a Premier League fixture until close to November but has now become an important member of Jurgen Klopp's starting XI.

Emery, who also chased Fabinho while in charge of Paris Saint-Germain, believes that level of patience is required for Arsenal's record signing Nicolas Pepe.

The 24-year-old Ivory Coast winger has scored once in his first 11 competitive appearances for the Gunners and squandered a crucial first-half chance in Monday's 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United.

"Pepe needs time to adapt to the Premier League," Emery said ahead of his side's Europa League match against Vitoria Guimaraes.

"For example, in France, I loved to have Fabinho. He was in Monaco and I wanted to sign him for PSG. When I arrived here, also his name was on the table to achieve to sign him, but he signed for Liverpool.

"The first six months he didn't play, it was adaptation, but now he is amazing and I want the same with [Dani] Ceballos, with Pepe.

"We need patience, but Pepe is improving. On Monday, the key to win was with him. If he scores the first goal, it's different.

"But it's one process and I believe in him and I know we need time and patience. The supporters have patience, some more than others. But I know we are convinced."

Arsenal is fifth in the Premier League and top of its Europa League group going into Thursday's home game.

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