The manager of Arsenal football club, Mikel Arteta has insisted that he would help the club’s record signing Nichola Pepe to succeed at the club.
Nichola Pepe is one of the most criticized players at the club not just because Arsenal paid a whopping £72 million to sign him from Lille which many believe was too much for a player of his caliber, but because of his inconsistency.
The 25-year-old left-winger was expected to be an instant hit at Arsenal going by his proficiency at French Ligue 1 before he came to the Premier League. For instance, in his last full season at Lille, Nichola Pepe made 41 appearances in which he scored 23 goals and provided 12 assists.
But in his first full season at Arsenal, the Ivory Coast right-winger scored only 5 goals and provided 3 assists in all competitions. So far this season, he has made 11 Premier League appearances and has scored two goals. Also, he has made 21 appearances in all competitions this season, scoring a total of 5 goals and provided three assists.
The fact that he has found it difficult to establish himself in an Arsenal’s squad that is filled with less experienced youngsters, has made some fans of the club always regret Arsenal’s decision to sign Pepe ahead of Crystal Palace’s star Wilfried Zaha.
Recall that a former coach of Arsenal, Unai Emery, revealed that he wanted to sign Zaha from Crystal Palace when he was in charge of the Gunners but the club’s board insisted that Pepe was preferable.
Hence, Emery went for the 25-year-old right-winger ahead of the 28-year-old left-winger who has scored 8 goals and provided 2 assists in 16 games for Crystal Palace in all competitions this season.
Amid the criticism Nichola Pepe has been getting from some Arsenal fans, Mikel Arteta pleaded for patience with the winger who still has over three years left on his contract with Arsenal.
“We need to help him to (succeed)”, Arteta said ahead of the Arsenal league match against Crystal Palace scheduled for Thursday, January 14. “To do that he needs minutes, he needs consistency in the team and when he has that, he needs to show he is capable of doing it. Let’s see how the next few months developing…
“I think it is hard to make a judgment on some players that haven’t played many minutes over the last two or three weeks and to throw them in and expect them to be the best player on the pitch.
“I don’t think it happens and Nico tried. He tried all the game and had some really good moments – moments where he could have scored two or three goals.
“In a normal circumstance and with his ability in those positions, he puts the ball in the back of the net. He didn’t do it but I think his contribution overall was good.”