Obviously anybody can be a genius in the transfer market if they operate in hindsight, but time has told us that Nicolas Pepe was not worth the money that Arsenal paid for him.
It’s believed that they made him their club record signing for a fee of around £72m, but it did make sense at the time when he was lighting up Ligue 1 and playing brilliantly for Lille.
Something hasn’t been quite right at Arsenal and it’s not clear if he’s short of confidence or even short of ability at this level, but a grand total of seven goals and six assists in 42 Premier League games isn’t good enough.
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When Arsenal were signing Pepe there was also a lot of talk about Wilfried Zaha arriving from Crystal Palace – he probably would’ve cost a similar amount, but he’s done more in the Premier League to suggest he would’ve been the game-changer that Arsenal need.
It’s possible that we will never know how Zaha would perform at an elite club, but it’s clear that he was keen on the move to Arsenal at the time:
”Emery was just like we don’t really need to go through much. He said he’d seen me play, he knows I can change games at any time and stuff like that. The conversation was rather straight forward, he saw what I could do, saw my work-rate, and what I could add to the team.”
— Z (@ZRAFC) January 7, 2021
In the same time period Zaha has managed to score 12 goals and he’s provided seven assists so he’s been more productive in an inferior team, so Arsenal fans may wonder if they club really made the correct decision here.