Arsenal legend says Nicolas Pepe looks out of his depth
Arsenal legend Paul Merson believes Nicolas Pepe looks out of his depth since his club-record move to the north London side. The Ivory Coast international joined the Gunners from Lille last year for a club-record fee of more than £70m, but he has failed to meet the expectations with inconsistent performances.
While there are no doubts over his quality, he has not been able to make the impact in the Premier League and most of his standout performances have come in Europe. Speaking on Sky Sports, Merson said that Pepe has yet to convince him and he must start performing against better teams than Molde to change his opinion.
He told: “Nicolas Pepe looks out of his depth and he’s going to have to do it against much better teams than Molde to change my opinion. He let his frustration get the better of him against Leeds and did something silly with the headbutt, because things haven’t been going well for him at Arsenal for months. He came in for £70-odd million. If they’d bought him for £20m nobody would be moaning. But the fee brings pressure, and he’s not been able to handle it.”
Pepe lost his temper during the 0-0 draw against Leeds United where he was handed a straight red card for a headbutt. As a result, he is suspended for three domestic matches and his absence will be felt by the Gunners, who are already lacking the presence of a creative midfielder. The north London side have made their worst start to a league season in 39 years and they are currently 14th on the table with just 13 points from 10 matches.
Things could get worse this weekend as they come up against league leaders Tottenham Hotspur, who have been in superb run of scoring form. The Gunners have rarely won against their cross-town rivals over the past few years and they have a tough test on their hands when they make the trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.