Patience Is Needed When It Comes To Arsenal’s Nicolas Pépé

Arsenal new boy Nicholas Pépé hasn’t been the quick fire success that some were expecting.

Obviously when you arrive with a hefty £72m price tag, expectations are going to be pretty high.

Unfortunately the player didn’t dictate that price. We’ve got to remember that he’s still just twenty-four and he’s now plying his trade at a new country.

In my opinion it was always going to take a bit of time for him to settle in at The Emirates. He hasn’t been terrible either. Against league leaders Liverpool, he was a threat with his directness and pace, giving Andrew Robertson and Virgil Van Dijk plenty to think about.

In his first eight Premier League appearances the Ivorian has managed to score and create two assists for teammates. He has also set-up a goal during his two substitute appearances in the Europa League.

There’s no doubting he had a flat game against Manchester United. He was sluggish and couldn’t keep hold of the ball. That poor performance brought out the critics.

Former Gunners defender Martin Keown went in two footed with his recent opinion of Pépé:

‘If you think back to Arsene Wenger, he would have never have blocked the path of a young player but they are in danger of doing that with Bukayo Saka.’

‘Pepe, is he going to get into the team? It’s a massive amount of money they have paid for him and Lille will be laughing all the way to the bank with that one.

‘It’s still early days and maybe the player will turn it around but I haven’t really seen what I expected to see from him.’ 

Via The Daily Mail

Again we should point out that Arsenal are in third place in the league and Nicolas has just played 561 minutes of English top flight football. No Arsenal player has made more assists thus far in the league and no one is averaging more than his 3.3 dribbles per game. He’s also making 1.5 key passes per game (Stats from Whoscored).

Now if you are wanting Pépé to walk into this Arsenal team and produce the same stats he was producing at Lille OSC last season, then you’re expecting too much!

I can give you three examples of players that took a wee bit of time to come to terms after making a big move.

Firstly, let’s look at a former teammate of Martin Keown’s in Thierry Henry. The French forward was another creative talent that seemed to struggle during his opening months at Arsenal. But Arsene Wenger persisted in playing Henry and eventually moving him into a central striker’s role and Thierry would go on to become the club’s best ever goalscorer!

Pépé can also look at fellow Ivorian Didier Drogba for inspiration. He too made a big move to London from Ligue 1. During his debut season at Chelsea, Drogba’s performances were at times leaving home fans pulling their hair out. he adapted to the English style and would become a Blues legend, helping them secure a Champions League triumph in 2012.

Now this summer we saw one of the best Premier League stars in Eden Hazard leaving for Real Madrid. We all know that the creative maestro can be world class but even though he’s got the experience in the bag, he too is struggling at his new team. Would Keown poo poo Hazard? I doubt it.

Nicolas Pépé just needs to keep his head down and keep trying to brea teams down with his direct play, his skill and his electrifying pace. He can’t let the critics get him down and as soon as the goals come, he will become a Gunners hero!

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