Arsenal fans were over the moon last summer following the capture of Ivorian international winger Nicholas Pepe but it is safe that the optimism from last year has been dampened after the player’s first year in English football.
The Gunners Faithfuls have not rejoiced over a transfer like they did with Pepe last summer since Arsenal signed German World Cup winner Mesut Ozil in the summer of 2014. Arsenal broke their transfer record six years ago to sign Ozil from Spanish La Liga giants Real Madrid.
The Gunners paid £42.5m for the playmaker who’s still a strong member of the starting XI under the guidance of manager Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal also had to break their transfer record to sign Nicholas Pepe from Lille in French Ligue 1 after the Ivorian international had a sensational 2018/19 season but he was not able to transform that form into the Premier League this season. Pepe was arguably the best player in France during the 2018/19 campaign as he fired Lille into the Champions League via a second-placed finish.
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His Lille form led to the interest in his services from a lot of big clubs on the European continent and that convinced Arsenal to fork out £72m for the 24-year-old winger. Other big European sides like Napoli, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich and many more were also keen on his signature.
Nicholas Pepe was expected to set English football on fire especially by his fans at Arsenal but the left-footed player has only shown his brilliance in a handful of games though club officials are certain that the first season is for him to acclamatise to the style of play in the Premier League. The Arsenal officials led by Mikel Arteta are hopeful that Nicholas Pepe will live up to his world class price tag in the coming seasons starting from the next season especially if the current season is not completed because of the dreaded Coronavirus.
Before the current season was suspended because of Coronavirus, Pepe scored four goals and provided six assists in 24 league games in addition to two goals in 6 Europa League outings.