Arsenal manager, Unai Emery has admitted that Nicolas Pepe is not quite at the level the club had wanted.
He goes further to claim that the Ivorian still needs time to adapt to play in England.
However, the Spanish gaffer still believes that the former Lille winger has a lot of potential buried inside him, in spite of the fact that he is adapting really slowly to life in England.
The former PSG boss has urged fans of the North London club to exercise patience with the club-record signing.
Nicolas Pepe became Arsenal’s record signing when he made a switch from Lille to the Emirates stadium in a deal costing the North London club £72million.
Fans of the club had a lot of expectations for the 24-year-old who had a stellar 2018/2019 campaign, however, he hasn’r lived up to the billing. The winger contributed 22 goals and 11 assists in 38 Ligue 1 appearances to help Lille finish second in the final standings.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t been unable to replicate such form in the Premier League, managing only one goal in 11 Premier League outings so far.
He’s fared better in the Europa league though. Pepe has now found the net twice in four appearances. That said, his overall performance doesn’t justify the huge price tag.
Emery claims he knew it could take a full season for the winger to adjust but still insists he had no idea the Ivorian will struggle this hard.
“His process of adapting to the team is positive, but a little slower than what we wanted,” the Spanish boss told Sky Sports.
“We have to be patient as well as demanding and what’s more, we have to ensure that he takes responsibility himself.
“He is not quite at the level yet to be able to play in every game. I believe, and I have always believed, that he needs to play in order to reach that level, but obviously there are also games when other players deserve to play. I use the players who I think are going to help us most in each moment.
“But we bought Pepe knowing that the first year would be difficult, that it would be a year of adaptation. We want that to happen as quickly as possible, but we are seeing that we have to have patience.”