Crystal Palace superstar Wilfried Zaha has told BBC Africa that Arsenal summer signing Nicolas Pepe needs time to reach his best, after being criticised for his level of performance since his move from Lille – and Gunners fans have reacted on Twitter.
Pepe, 24, scored 23 goals and created 12 more last season and it saw Arsenal come calling. The north Londoners splashed out a club-record £72million to sign Pepe, but he is yet to show the same kind of form in a Gunners shirt.
This season, Pepe has scored just one goal in 10 Arsenal appearances – netting from the penalty spot against Aston Villa. He has laid on three assists, but was heavily scrutinised for his display in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
Palace star Zaha has defended his Ivory Coast teammate, urging Arsenal fans to give their new signing time to get used to English football and cope with the weight of having such an enormous price tag that is likely to be weighing down on Pepe.
“I see the social media, I see everything & it’s a thing where he needs time. He’s come from another league, he’s young,” Zaha said. “He has that price tag that he has not put on himself, other people have. I’ve got nothing but fith in him.”
Unai Emery continues to give Pepe chance after chance in the league, and indeed in both the Europa League and the Carabao Cup. Pepe gets the nod, even with teenagers Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka in excellent form.
Arsenal fans reacted to Zaha’s comments, who himself nearly moved to Everton for £70million in the summer (Telegraph). Many agree with Zaha, while others are desperate for the Palace man to move to Arsenal himself.
I rate Zaha too much. Down to earth guy. There’s a LW spot calling at Arsenal, and it’s got your name on it sir
— Yo Pierre (@goonerkay96) October 9, 2019
— Prajwal (@Praj_afc) October 9, 2019
Come to Arsenal @wilfriedzaha 😁😁😁😁👍👍😊😊
— arsenalmad79Reloaded (@arsenalmad37) October 9, 2019
— Positive Arsenal (@ARSENALFANUK) October 9, 2019
Big up @wilfriedzaha
Nothing but love. Just don’t score against arsenal again this season 😂
— Dani Ceballos FC (@EssexGooner10) October 9, 2019
Class from Wilfred…great interview @MimosaFawaz 👏👏👏
— Vincent Anyangu (@anyangu_vincent) October 10, 2019