Paul Merson insists that he doesn’t buy into claims that Nicolas Pepe is suddenly going to burst into form for Arsenal, and that they would be lucky to receive £30 Million for him in the coming window.
The Ivory Coast international did have an impressive AFCON tournament last month, and it was reported that he had returned with a newfound confidence, and he may have given fans further reason to believe that he could play a role in our push for the top four when coming off the bench last week to combine with Eddie Nketiah to level the scoring against Wolves, a match we later went onto win.
Paul Merson isn’t holding out any hope of a big resurgence from the former Lille forward however, and claims that we would jump at the chance to sell him.
‘Don’t expect Nicolas Pepe to suddenly become an Arsenal legend – he’s a £72m sub they’d bite your hand off to get rid of,” he wrote in his column at the DailyStar.
‘But even though he came on and won them the game against Wolves last week, you’d be lucky to get £30m for him now.
‘We’ve seen it too many times where he comes on and looks amazing and then he disappears again for weeks.
‘It’s all about consistency and he’s never been able to find it. He hasn’t put it together enough for me.
‘I don’t buy into the theory that he’s suddenly going to rip it up for the rest of the season. No chance.
‘He is a classic example of modern-day football. Arsenal have a £72m player who, let’s be honest, has flopped. And nothing is said about it!
‘It’s unbelievable really. A few years ago, if you’d bought a player for that much money and he was sitting on the bench all season, you’d be sacked.
‘I know Mikel Arteta didn’t buy him. And Unai Emery is long gone. But you get the point. And Arteta isn’t getting a tune out of him either.
‘If he was that good Arteta would be playing him. He just isn’t a £72m player.
‘I think Arsenal will be hoping he carries it on for the rest of the season and they might get £30m for him.
‘But at the moment I don’t even see anyone paying that.
‘We all know they wanted Wilfried Zaha instead. I think he’s an amazing player. But they tried to save a few quid by getting someone a bit less expensive and it hasn’t worked out.
‘If Pepe finds a bit of consistency now and helps them get in the top four, he’s paid a bit of his money back and they might be able to sell him.
‘But will he? That’s the big question. They might be stuck with him.’
While I don’t disagree that we should happily sell for around the £30 Million mark, I do believe he could be set to hit form. Not just because of the comments on his returning confidence, but in the two full seasons with the club, it was in the Spring-Summer time that he found his best performance. He could well be one of those players.
Could Pepe just come to life this time of year?
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Merson is simply looking at all the long list of evidence and coming to the correct conclusion. I believe all realistic Gooners will agree, at least broadly, with his view.
If he doesn’t get a chance, he wont ever find some form. Its funny though, when he finally got his chance last season he outscored everyone in the team. What he does (which is what we miss) is score goals with regularity and create chances better than anyone in the team. He has scored important goals for us since he has been here, he is the only decent goalscorer in the team at present and i do wonder if some people understand football, if they cant see it. People very quickly forget he scored something like 23 goals from wide last season (after not being trusted for the first 3 months) and hasn’t been trusted since. Given a chance, im sure he can help power us to that 4th place finish. He adds that little bit of flair as well to our functional football.
Can’t say I’m too bothered anymore that we paid £72 mill for Pepe
He is a decent player and an active part of the current squad who could play a part for us this season and next
He’s a wee bit unfortunate that after trying Saka in numerous positions he has now made attacking wide right his, turns up every time so with that being Pepe’s strongest position he has had to be patient
In football it takes between 1 and 5 seconds to assist or score a goal. Football games have about 4,500 seconds of running time. Yet despite teams costing a billion quids worth of fees and salaries every PL game only average 3 goals over the course of those 4,500 seconds. Why do we put up with such a farce?
I think it is a bit too harsh on the part of Mercen to criticise Pepe so much. To be fair to Pepe, the man has tried his level best and given us good performances whenever he is brought on to play. Injuries and not playing consistently have not helped him regain consistency in his form and performances. I am sure, given a consistent run of games, Pepe will surely come good and help Arsenal finish in the top 4.
Against weaker defence like leeds,leicester,watford,villa he should be able to impact starting or coming off the bench early.
I believe pepe should be tried out as a CF. He’s very sharp and hardly miss target around the box.
However, Pepe’s holdup play, link up play and defensive contribution is not encouraging.
If only Pepe can work on his stamina on the ball and contribute a little extra defensively. He will be the most deadly CF 72m can buy.
I think Pepe has all the potential of becoming a “lethal” player if used properly, he seems to be the kind of player who wants to play freely. Just give him more space and allow him to move around without the ball, no restrictions on which side to play and then you can expect more from him.
To me he didn’t show all his skills because none of our coaches used him properly. One last thing, I still don’t understand why we can’t use him as a playmaker as well “behind Laca”!
I agree with u this pepe comes from a free flair type of technical team background here it’s wenger ball don’t shot from far yards unless it box to box touch and then no change of positions which I think was aubas problem too…not to function properly except to leave for free
If Arsenal is to be great, ignore such comments. He even uses the acronym we, like his stupid comments about Pepe represent AFC.