Former Arsenal star Robert Pires has claimed that Nicolas Pepe is “not cut out” to play in the Premier League.
Pepe became Arsenal’s record signing when he joined from Lille in 2019. However, his time at the Emirates Stadium has not been a success.
He scored five goals from 31 appearances in the Premier League last season and has three from 13 this term. Those figures are not terrible, but more would have been expected from a man who cost £72m.
Hence, Pepe has lost his status as a key player and has started just five of their first 20 league games this season.
Now, his abilities have been picked apart by ex-Invincible Pires, who claims Pepe is not suited to the Premier League.
Pires told The Sun: “His game doesn’t suit the intensity and demands of the Premier League.
“Pepe wasn’t used to it and it has been complicated for him to change his mentality, to adapt to a new way of training and to settle in a tough league.
“I think he is simply not cut out for English football.”
Pepe scored on his most recent appearance for Arsenal, in the 3-1 win over Southampton. However, he is unlikely to be a regular for the rest of the season.
The 25-year-old remains under contract at the Emirates until 2024, by which time he will have hoped to have made a bigger impact.
It seems Pires does not have much faith that he will be able to, though.
Pepe retains Arteta confidence
Speaking earlier this month, though, manager Mikel Arteta insisted that Pepe has his support.
“We need to help him to (succeed),” Arteta said. “In order to do that he needs minutes, he needs consistency in the team. When he has that, he needs to show he is capable of doing it.
“Let’s see how the next few months develop.”