Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has stated that he wants Gunners star Nicolas Pepe to be a player ‘that can make the difference’, according to a report in the Daily Mirror.
Pepe has struggled to put in consistent performances for Arsenal following his big-money move to the Emirates last summer and has only shown flashes of his ability in his first season in north London.
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Gunners boss Arteta left the winger on the bench for Arsenal’s first Premier League game after the coronavirus suspension against Manchester City and has now spoken out regarding Pepe demanding more of him.
Speaking about Pepe and his consistency, as cited in the Mirror, Arteta said:
“It’s clear that his consistency has not been at the level he can produce.
“He’s the first to accept that. That’s what I’m going to demand of a player of his level and calibre. He has to be producing every three days at the level that he can be.”
“He has to be a player that can make the difference, that is a threat, that generates fear in the opponent and gives us a big threat in the final third,”
“His work rate has to be related as well with that kind of performance. He knows that.
“He’s such a nice kid. He’s trying really hard. You have to accept as well, the timing and the way he has adapted for the first year.
“A lot has happened for him and we have to understand that. He’s willing and I’m sure we’re going to get the best out of that. I’m convinced of that.”
“It’s taking the flash moments into a consistent mode. That, for a creative wide player to do it, is a big task,”
“Every detail has to be taken into account because it makes a huge difference. His mentality as well, his mindset has to all the time be like that; to win the game for the team.
“He’s one of the players in the squad that can do it and must take the responsibility.”
It’s certain that Pepe is taking time to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League and despite being inconsistent since his arrival, the winger has scored six goals and made eight assists in 32 appearances for the Gunners, however, a player of his ability should be surely be delivering more goals and assists than he is at the moment.
Arteta’s words come as no surprise because Pepe has underwhelmed in his first season at the Emirates and the winger will need to work harder in training, up his levels of performance and work-rate and deliver on the pitch in-game for Arsenal if he is to justify his club-record price tag of £72m (fee via BBC Sport).
Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether the Ivory Coast international duly delivers for Arsenal this season and in the coming seasons.