Granit Xhaka has claimed that he liked seeing Arsenal teammate Nicolas Pepe playing as a left-winger recently despite the fact his usual position is on the right.
Pepe, who earns £100,000-a-week (Spotrac), is a left-footed wide player that predominately features on the right to allow him to cut onto his favoured foot.
The 25-year-old has been used on the opposite flank on a couple of occasions recently by manager Mikel Arteta, who is trying to balance a host of talented options in attack within his squad.
Pepe has scored seven goals in 29 games across all competitions this season and is blessed with tremendous technical ability.
He’s still trying to nail down a permanent spot in the XI, but versatility to play either wing should help his cause and midfielder Xhaka has explained he likes him on the left.
“Pepe is very important for us. He has the quality. He looks very good on the left if I’m being honest. I’ve only seen him on the right but it’s important to know the players who can play in both positions. He made the difference in the last few weeks, the Southampton 1-1 game where he scored,” Xhaka said, as quoted by Football.London.
Arsenal paid a remarkable transfer fee of £72million (BBC) to sign Pepe back in the 2019 summer window, which is why he’s always seemed like a disappointment for supporters.
He’s certainly yet to get anywhere near justifying that kind of price tag, but he’s a unique star that injects an extra dimension to the Arsenal attack with his left foot and he’s proven that he can produce spectacular pieces of skill.
He can be somewhat predictable on the right and it’s up to Arteta to try blend all his young attacking talent together, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe also available to him.