Arsenal manager Unai Emery has said that he wanted to sign Liverpool midfielder Fabinho when the Brazilian was playing for Monaco.
The Gunners’ record signing Nicolas Pepe has been struggling to perform at the same level as he did last season for Lille. Things went from bad to worse for the 24-year-old when he missed a sitter against Sheffield United on weekend.
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However, Emery said that Pepe needs time to adapt to the Premier League. He gave the example of Fabinho who also struggled to be a regular under Jurgen Klopp for the first couple of months before becoming a key player for Liverpool. Emery said that he wanted to sign the Brazilian who made a quite a name for himself when at Monaco.
As quoted by Sky Sports, the Spaniard said: “We spent money with Pepe, but Pepe needs time to adapt to the Premier League. 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.”
Had Emery managed to sign Fabinho when at PSG or Arsenal, either side would’ve been fortified. The Brazilian is easily among the best defensive midfielders in the world and there’s little doubt that his best years are ahead of him.
As for Pepe, it is not unusual for anyone to have a tough time adapting to the Premier League after arriving from Ligue 1. Provided he keeps training hard, the Ivorian international may eventually get the hang of it and we could see him producing the kind of performances he gave for Lille last season.
Arsenal will be hoping to maintain their perfect record in the Europa League when they take on Portuguese club Vitoria de Guimaraes at the Emirates.