Jose Mourinho has tipped his cap to Arsenal for their savvy transfer dealings this summer and reckons in Nicolas Pepe in particular, the Gunners have a class act on their hands.
The Gunners enjoyed a brilliant summer transfer window with no less than six new names arriving through the doors at Emirates Stadium, with Pepe added to William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli, Kieran Tierney, Dani Ceballos and David Luiz.
Mourinho, in his debut as a pundit for Sky Sports, had words of criticism for both Luke Shaw and Mason Mount- something Frank Lampard took exception to – but had much nicer things to say about Unai Emery and Arsenal’s summer signings.
Asked to rate Arsenal’s summer dealings, Mourinho told Sky Sports: “I followed Lille a lot. Last season I didn’t want to go to English stadiums after being sacked by Manchester United and I went to Lille many times.
“So I know Pepe quite well, I think he’s a very, very talented player but there’s always a question mark on the time you need to adapt to come to England… French spoken, African boy, grew up in France… there’s a question mark in terms of the time of his adaptation but obviously he’s a kid with a lot of talent.
“I think he’s potentially a very good signing for Arsenal.”
Mourinho continued: “Tierney… I think he’s a young [Nacho] Monreal. Same kind of profile, reliable boy, looks a great character, looks a great personality, looks a little bit like he’s from a previous generation in some aspects. His humble way of being… I like his profile.
“Ceballos… I think that they have other Ceballos in their squad. He’s a good player but they have other Ceballos. When I see [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, [Mesut] Ozil, Ceballos… they can play in different positions on the pitch and very similar characteristics.”
Mourinho backing for David Luiz
On Luiz’s move across London, Mourinho concluded: “David is a player the manager knows well. He knows what David can give and what David cannot give.
“I think we all know the qualities of David and where he can improve things.
“I know that sometimes he makes mistakes, but he makes these mistakes when his concentration levels are low and when you change to a new club and you have something to prove, I think it’s a good move for him.
“At this moment of his career to get this opportunity of a late move and stay in the Premier League at the highest level, for David, it’s a fantastic move.”
Get the latest personalised Arsenal products on our new TEAMtalk Gunners shop!