Is Championship manager right that Arsenal made a mistake signing Pepe?

Lee Bowyer believes Arsenal made a mistake is signing Nicholas Pepe.

Arsenal splashed out £75million to sign Nicholas Pepe from Lille last summer, but Charlton manager, Lee Bowyer believes Arsenal would be a better team now had they spent that money elsewhere.

Despite the addition of Pepe, Arsenal has struggled to catch the leading teams this season and their major problem seems to be their defence.

Bowyer insists that they should have spent that money on a world-class defender much like what Manchester United did when they signed Harry Maguire.

“Defensively they are frail, they concede too many goals. Their centre-halves have been a problem for years,” Bowyer said on Sky Sports.

“It’s not just been this season, it’s been for a while now, but they would rather spend £75million on a winger than a centre-back.

“Maguire would have been perfect for them, why didn’t they get him?”

Arsenal signed a defender over the summer and an experienced one at that when they signed Chelsea centre back David Luiz for £8million.

The Brazilian has done little to help and his partnership with Sokratis is the worst out of the top six, probably top ten Premier League sides.

Rob Holding has been working his way back to fitness after a long injury layoff and Calum Chambers is in with a shout but in all honesty, they are not what you would call elite defenders.

I cannot agree with Bowyer about Pepe but he is not wrong when he says Arsenal should have bought a top-class defender.


  1. Sad, but true. Just goes to show you that Emery has zero control over the players brought in. And the board, as well as other management haven’t got a clue as to what’s really needed to advance the club.

  2. I share the views of Lee Bowyer.You cannot build a watertight house without sound foundations.Over the years all successful sides have had a strong spine to the team.For the past 8/9 years we have not been blest with top quality CBS nor a commanding, physically powerful defensive midfielder.Saliba is a hugely talented young centre back who I feel sure will make his presence felt next season,but the acquisition of a CB and DM should be our priorities in the summer transfer window.Our football executives have already indicated that there is unlikely to be any inward transfer activity in January next.

    1. Holding could be the high quality CB and Chambers could be the physically powerful DM, but I don’t think Emery would start both of them in 4-3-3 formation

      1. I got same idea since start of season. But how come no one sees this and tells him!

        Chambers was MVP as a DM on loan last season! He will never get right team until he has Chambers covering CBs, it is the key to team’s balance.

        Can play 433 if you have a solid 4, mainly center defense, Reds can with Vanjick… Yep, said it, we should have brought Koulibaly first, as priority.

        But we can do way better than we do with that center defense covered by Chambers as DM infront of CBs. Allows us to be secured and free going forward.

        Unfortunately, Emery won’t play him there in 433 nor 442!

    2. Grandad, it is beyond comprehension that people like you and I can see the issues in midfield and central defense that have plagued Arsenal season after season, yet those in charge are oblivious.
      One only has to look at the key positions, which made winning Arsenal teams successful, to see where mistakes are being made. The strong spine through midfield and defence has been lacking since the mid Arsene Wenger years and the answer still seems to be buy another attacking player.

  3. Bowyer must have seen what happened to Man United after they bought Maguire and Bissaka?

    Getting a left-footed RW was imperative in the last transfer window and Pepe had the best stats of them all. Little did Arsenal know that Pepe has work ethic problem and he is not as talented as he looks on his YouTube highlights

    Arsenal scouts should have taken all the blames, because they saw Pepe’s bad performances in the AFCON and they knew that a lot of his goals were penalties

    Nonetheless, I have not lost hope in Pepe yet, because he showed his willingness to steal the ball in the last couple of EPL matches

    1. “Arsenal scouts should have taken all the blames, because they saw Pepe’s bad performances in the AFCON” Spot on!

  4. IMO he hasn’t lived up to his 72m price tag so far…seen glimpses of what he can do…was expecting more!
    I’d like Tyrone Mings, he’s a big unit and just what we could do with.

    1. I argued with a friend of mine at the beginning of the season who also wanted Arsenal to sign Mings telling him ” he’s just a decent Championship player” I’ve now changed my mind, you and him are right Sue, I was wrong.

  5. No regrets, I’ll take Pepe over Maguire any day. I’m dying to see Pepe play under another manager at Arsenal.
    With how we’ve been exposed from attack to the defense, I don’t think Maguire or even Van Dijk could’ve made a difference

  6. The strange thing to me is that we supposedly bought Pepe to improve our road record. However, when we play away from home we play so conservatively that it leads to none of our forwards getting any meaningful service. In that sense, it would have been more logical to address our greater need which is CD. Our CD’s have cost us some points this season.

  7. That’s what is called Lazy Journalism….

    Arsenal’s problem isn’t the defence; it is the extremely weak midfield that offers absolutely ZERO protection to the defence.

    Have always said no manager can succeed at Arsenal with a midfield comprised of Guendouzi, Xhaka and Torreira.. Simply put, they have very limited skillset for a top club.

  8. He is right – and that isn’t a dig at Pepe. I think he will be a good addition with some time. Arsenal avoided fixing its biggest hole at central defense. Maybe Sabhila works next year, but we need help now. If it wasn’t a centre back then midfield.

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