Arsenal boss Unai Emery says he wanted to sign Fabinho before he went to Liverpool

23 October 2019, 22:41 | Updated: 24 October 2019, 00:05

Unai Emery has revealed Fabinho was a target for Arsenal, before Liverpool signed him from Monaco last summer.

Emery was Paris Saint-Germain boss when Fabinho helped Monaco beat his side to the league title in 2017, and the Spaniard admits that he wanted to sign the midfielder when he was appointed Arsenal manager last year.

The Gunners boss splashed out a fee in excess of £70m to recruit Nicolas Pepe this summer, but he has yet to make the desired impact for his new club.

He has scored just once, a penalty in a 3-2 win over Aston Villa, and missed a fine chance to open the scoring as Arsenal slipped to a 1-0 loss at Sheffield United on Monday Night Football.

Emery has insisted Pepe will need time to adapt ever since securing his signature, and pointed to Fabinho as proof.

"We spent money with Pepe, but Pepe needs time to adapt to the Premier League," he said.

"For example, in France I loved a lot Fabinho. He was in Monaco and I wanted to sign him for Paris Saint-Germain.

"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."

Pepe is likely to sit out Thursday night's Europa League Group F clash at home to Vitoria Guimaraes - but Emery could yet opt to include him in his side to give him another chance to impress.

Emery talked with his players for 10 minutes on the training ground on the eve of the Vitoria Guimaraes game, and pointed to his desire to promote young talent as a reason for the delay in returning the club to the top.

"We have time and we have very young players, who we are giving confidence and minutes in the Premier League to adapt to the rhythm we want," he added.

"We are getting there but we can do better. I know we need to win, we need to achieve our targets.

"And then how we can play better and then how we can show and transmit to our supporters all they want to see in our team.

"Last year we did not achieve, we were in the table by one point and in the Europa League final and we lost in the end. And OK, we were there. And this year - (we need to) be there and take it."

"OK we lost (on Monday) and it was a bad moment. Twenty-four hours after I have struggled with the same feelings, but that is normal. That is my life. I don't want that.

"I have one friend says to me, 'go to train your town team Hondarribia and you don't have that problem'.

"But I know this is my work. And also my work is to analyse, to respond the supporters. They are also waiting to see our strategy on how we can improve.

"We are playing for our supporters and my message is that we are going to carry on with patience."