Premier League • England

Paul Merson issues Mikel Arteta brutal warning over Arsenal ‘flop’

Paul Merson has warned Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta that Nicolas Pepe will ‘disappear again’ following his winner against Wolves last week.

Speaking to The Star, Merson launched a brutal attack into the £72million forward, claiming he does not expect Pepe to build on his goal. The Ivorian bagged just his second goal involvement of the season as he equalised for Arsenal against Bruno Lage’s men. A last-minute winner from Alexandre Lacazette then gave Arsenal more hope in their pursuit of a top-four finish.

However, the Sky Sports pundit does not believe Pepe has the consistency to continue to help his side until the end of the season.

He said: “Don’t expect Nicolas Pepe to suddenly become an Arsenal legend – he’s a £72m sub they’d bite your hand off to get rid of.

“It’s all about consistency and he’s never been able to find it. He hasn’t put it together enough for me. I don’t buy into the theory that he’s suddenly going to rip it up for the rest of the season. No chance.

“He is a classic example of modern-day football. Arsenal have a £72m player who, let’s be honest, has flopped. And nothing is said about it!”

Arsenal signed Pepe from Lille back in summer 2019, however the Ivory Coast international has failed to live up to expectations.

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Now, Merson believes his value has dropped by more than a half as a result of his poor performances in England.

Nicolas Pepe celebrates scoring for Arsenal

“You’d be lucky to get £30m for him now. We’ve seen it too many times where he comes on and looks amazing and then he disappears again for weeks.”

Arsenal legend predicts Man Utd to win Champions League race

Meanwhile, Arsenal legend Ian Wright has stayed strong on claims that Manchester United will win the race for a top four finish.

The former striker claimed earlier this season that the Red Devils would win a spot in next season’s Champions League.

And despite the Gunners sitting just two points behind Ralf Rangnick’s men, Wright does not believe his old team will leapfrog them this season.

Speaking on Ringer FC’s Wrighty’s House podcast, Wright said: “Arsenal fans came for me. They weren’t cooking me, they were just kind of sizzling and warming the pan up.

“But the fact is that I said that I fancied Manchester United to come fourth. Because Manchester United have got the firepower to do it.

“I’m not going to put pressure on Arsenal and this young team. I said at the start of the season I would be delighted if they could get into the top six – and nothing has changed.” 

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