Mikel Arteta has praised the improvement of Nicolas Pepe this season despite a slow start to the winger’s Arsenal career.
It didn’t take long for Pepe to be dubbed a ‘flop’ after his £72million transfer from Lille in 2019, but this season he has changed the opinions of many, looking sharp with a contribution of 14 goals and five assists across all competitions.
The Ivorian may still not be the £72million player Arsenal thought he was just yet, but he is showing plenty of potential despite not always getting a run of starts, most recently scoring two in the win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.
And that’s something Mikel Arteta has highlighted recently, praising Pepe for trending in the right direction despite criticism since his arrival.
“He wants to work and he wants to be the best,” Arteta said. “When that happens and he has the talent that he has, I think it’s a really good mixture.”
Asked if Pepe had now settled, Arteta added: “I’m very encouraged and positive to think that way for two reasons.
“One, because he’s come a long way, in terms of the consistency of what he’s producing in games. Not only in the Premier League but what he’s done in Europe this season.
“And the second one, because of his serious mindset. He wants to look at every action, he wants to look at every post-match reflection we do with him individually.”
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“When you arrive like that, you’re always going to be talked about, and people are always going to target you,” Henry said.
“He needs to make sure he doesn’t listen to that and go out and perform. People need to forget about the price tag. He didn’t ask to be bought for that amount of money himself.
“It’s not always easy to arrive in a team, adapt to a new style of play. The Premier League, as we know, is not the same as the French League or any other league, by the way. So he needs to adapt to that. We need to give him time.”