Jeremie Aliadiere has told Stadium Astro that Arsenal summer signing Nicolas Pepe will struggle to live up to his enormous £72million price tag, after struggling against Manchester United on Monday night.
Pepe, 24, joined Arsenal in the summer for an enormous £72million (Star) but has struggled to hit the heights of his 2018-19 form, which saw him score 23 goals and create 12 more in just 41 appearances for the French side.
He has opened his account for Arsenal, scoring a penalty against Aston Villa and has laid on two assists against Eintracht Frankfurt and Tottenham. But against United, the Ivory Coast international was poor.
He lasted 74 minutes and was outshone by Gunners teen Bukayo Saka, and former Arsenal striker Aliadiere has claimed that he will fail to live up to his gargantuan transfer fee – which saw him become the Gunners record signing.
“He’s a player that’s going to need a bit of time to adjust – I don’t know how long,” Aliadiere said. “He’s had not such a great start to the season. I expected more from him. Even just the basic passes are not clear.
“He won’t live up to the £72m they paid for him. With that fee, you expect the best and I don’t think he will be. I think he’ll do well and score some goals but he won’t score 20 goals this season.”
TBR’s view – Did Arsenal over pay for Pepe?
On this season’s showing, yes. Pepe seems to be struggling with the physical rigours and much faster pace of the Premier League, compared to Ligue 1. A talent, yes, but was he really worth £72million?
Pepe starred in a Lille side where he knew he was the best player. Lille’s counter-attacking style suited Pepe’s speed, but with Arsenal dominating the ball, he is facing a different test, where the defenders are in front of him, rather than behind.
It will take time to adjust, as Aliadiere says. But Arsenal seem to have overpaid for Pepe.