Mikel Arteta 'pushing' £27m ace, wants him to 'give more'

Journalist Paul Brown believes Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is ‘pushing’ winger Nicolas Pepe to become a success at the club, but he’s ‘not really sure’ if his situation will improve.

The 26-year-old become the north London outfit’s record signing in 2019 after they forked out a whopping £72 million to secure his services from Lille.

What is Pepe’s current situation?

Throughout 2018/19, Pepe had been in scintillating form for the Ligue 1 outfit, bagging 23 goals and providing a further 12 assists in all competitions, convincing the Gunners’ hierarchy to spend such an astronomical fee.

However, things have not gone to plan for the Ivory Coast international during his two-and-a-half-year stint on English shores.

In his maiden campaign, the pacey attacker fell way below the expectations placed upon him, managing a mere five goals and six assists in 31 top-flight outings.

Last season, though, saw an upturn in fortunes for Pepe as he appeared to finally settle into his new surroundings and become accustomed to his teammates.

The African forward racked up very respectable 21 goal contributions in 47 appearances throughout 2020/21, sparking hope that he could finally fulfil his potential and live up to his hefty price tag.

Nevertheless, that appeared to be a false dawn as Arteta has largely banished him to the fringes of his first-team squad.

Despite the campaign reaching the halfway stage, Pepe has only started five Premier League fixtures, failing to produce a single goal, and Brown is unsure whether he will ever produce on a consistent basis at the Emirates Stadium.

What has Brown said about Pepe?

After failing to live up to expectations and hit top form week in week out, the Daily Star reporter is unsure if the £27m-rated flop will ever improve, despite Arteta’s best efforts.

Brown told GiveMeSport: “Arteta’s always saying he needs to give more; he needs to give more. So, he's pushing him. But whether they can ever get more, or get enough out of Pepe, I'm not really sure.”

Could Pepe leave Arsenal in January?

Although Pepe scored one and assisted two goals throughout a 90-minute runout against third-tier Sunderland in the Carabao Cup recently, he’s found game time hard to come by.

His last league start came on October 18 in a hugely disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace, and he’s only been awarded two cameo appearances off the bench since.

The likes of Palace, Newcastle United and Everton have seen been linked with moves for Pepe as his time at Arsenal may be drawing towards an underwhelming end.