Opinion – It is not too early to be calling out Nicolas Pepe

Nicolas Pepe has failed to live up to his huge transfer fee.

It was always going to happen, patience was going to run out and criticism of Nicolas Pepe would begin. The Ivory Coast international has been an expensive flop so far and both fans and former players are starting to become frustrated with the 24-year-old.

Former Arsenal legend Ian Wright was on the Monday Night Club on the BBC and he had this to say with regards to the former Lille man:

“We definitely need more out of him, I’d like to see him play more and getting the creative players ramming the ball down his throat to get him taking on players. In Arsenal’s current state in respect of money we cannot afford to pay that kind of money for somebody and three managers now are not really sold.

“That can’t happen, we’re not in that luxurious position. Whatever happens we’ve got to get a tune out of Pepe and quick. Three managers have benched him. I’m not seeing enough movement from him, not seeing enough hunger from him to want to make something happen and he needs to start doing that because questions are starting to be asked.”

It really is hard to disagree with Wrighty there, in fact, I agree with every single word he has said.

Some will argue that the huge fee is not his fault but that fee reflects his talent and I doubt anyone can say that he has performed to anywhere near his best.

It could be confidence, it could be adapting to the English game, I really do not know but what I do know is that he has to start showing more than what he has done so already or the club may have to cut their losses. No club can carry a player worth so much money and get almost nothing in return.

All Arsenal fans had huge hopes when he was signed and he has been a huge letdown and while the excuses worked in the early days, especially the comparison with the time it took the likes of Thierry Henry to settle down and adapt but those excuses no longer wash now.

The time for excuses has passed, we know what he is capable of and he now has to deliver.

So, no, in my personal opinion it is not too early to call Pepe out, it is actually the perfect time.


  1. If he is still highly inconsistent at the end of this season, we have to shift him to the left or replace him

    He is still young, fast and has good stature for a winger, so I bet we could still get around 50+ M for him

    Our loss is nothing compared to the amount of money Chelsea lost after purchasing the flopped Andriy Shevchenko and Fernando Torres

    1. Emery should have been sacked after that loss to Chelsea in the EL Final. that was where it all started. Also, we need a complete midfield overhaul. We should have gone for one of Rakitic/Thomas Lemar in January. we need goal scoring midfielders. we need guys who can take shots from midfield. The board need to support Arteta by buying top quality players. For now, we should move Lacazette to the bench. Play Pepe in the No 10 role and Aubameyang in central forward. It makes no sense playing Lacazette and Aubameyang at the same time. that is the main issue we have. our defenders are doing well now. problem is with the midfield and attack. Arteta needs to be brave and ruthless going forward. 3 points in the next 5 games are a must

    2. @gotanidea

      I think next season PEP would be a hit. His country man Wilfred Zaha back in the days was brought to Man United first eleven with so much hipe. But he didnt live up to expectation and he was sold. After many seasons, he has become better than any Man United winger. PEP though slow in his adaptation to premier league, he will still come good; the flashes are there already.

  2. Pepe did not play in the last game. We should give him time. perhaps we can move him to the No 10 Role. He is the only player in the squad who can move with the ball. Also, Move Aubameyang to the middle. Lacazette as sub for now. we cannot afford more draws.




    Lacazette needs a break for now. Pepe is not the issue. Lacazette is.

  3. I agree, he needs time and I think that there is real potential there.

    A big part of the issue with his “performance” is how teams play us. Unless we can hit on the counter or get a relatively fast break, the opposition backs into the box and dares us to break them down. We can’t do it right now, as soon as the defence is set we generally are done. Somebody else alluded to this in another post.

    I think that will end up being the big decision in the summer – help in the middle going forward or big money for the central defender (both would be nice).

    Has the defence improved enough and with the new players coming that we can focus on the middle? I am increasingly drifting forward in my thinking 🙂

  4. People need to calm down about the situation. Just let him be and by the end of the season maybe early next, when arts has everyone singing the same song, we can actually start to judge anyone, let alone our record signing. The stats that dont wash anymore should still be relevant. Why, just because some people dont want to change their opinion based on historical evidence, should we let that rot our club. We’ve had enough shit to deal with over the last X years, but finally we have a direction and a manager that I think, can actually make a real difference if we back him like we did Mr. Wenger. So let’s be a bit patient and defo not sell ‘Pete’, that’s the worst suggestion I’ve heard around this. Up The Arse!!!!

  5. It’s almost laughable. Had all of our other new aqusitions taken so long to adapt, we’d be sitting at the bottom now, for sure… Fans constantly goin on about Ozils wage, but this guy should have hit the ground running, considering his price tag. I think dude got caught good by a few English defenders and it’s put a fright in him… IJS 🤣🤣🤣🤣

  6. I am intrigued by the suggestion that Pepe “is the only player in the squad who can move with the ball”The other week I watched young Martiinelli run over 50 yards “with the ball”What on Earth are you talking about?Pepe needs to move more when he does not have the ball.That is his main problem.He is easy to mark because he rarely ventures from the right wing area.Our front three need to be more interchangeable to keep defenders guessing.From what I have seen of Pepe he has a lot of ability,but ability without application is not enough.He needs a good kick up the backside.

    1. Exactly again, and how is it the same Martinelli manages to hit the ground running after coming all the way from Brazil? No need to adjust to the rigours of the English game because a good player makes their own game and let the others adjust to him.

    2. Running in a straight line with the only real defender slipping is not the same as actually skinning a wing-back on the wing. I am confused on how based on his flashes and his general play, he does not get more playing time.

  7. So let me get this straight, you think that a young player just coming into a dysfunctional team, that has had three managers, suffering a hangover from a euro final defeat, lost silly games, where the fans boo the captain, the highest paid player doesn’t produce, the center forward hasn’t scored away in a year so he is expected to do miracles everytime he plays, and where he is heavily judged not for his ability but is instead beaten with his price tag playing with inconsistent tactics prior to Arteta and coming from a settled team built around his skill set to a team, where he cant build a relationship with the RB as that position is in constant flux, has failed to live up to expectations and should now be sold….??? Really??

    Pepe isn’t firing that’s for sure but you put him into the invincibles team, or the theo vannasrigas team and this dude would be shining by now, cause wenger would have the patience to be patient with him and not be under pressure. he’d have a style of play which he could get used to and finally he’d be on the pitch constantly without the pressure of having to score to save the team. Pires took six months in a settled invincible team. and even then we only saw the best of him the season afterwards.

    this was a hack job or a puff piece and tbh you’re better than this.

    1. Martinelli, he has excelled without any issues but a £72 Million player can’t cope? How many more excuses will there be. I can see this going the way of another Arsenal that shall remain nameless because I do not want to agitate the Mesut Ozil fans. Ooops, my bad.

      1. The problem is that we expect everyone to act the same or grow the same. People are uniquely different. You can’t look at Martinelli and say oh he made it so Pepe should too. Everyone just wants to jump to conclusions instead of giving stuff the time to play out and make the call then.

  8. Simply put, Pepe is too static and too lazy. All players, howwer talented, need to work ferociously hard all thE time. Pepe hardly moves when he does not have the ball,. He needs to run wih intensity, to uSe his natural speed and athleticism, which he does possess but rarely uses. THAT is his main problem. I think he is shy, somewhat introverted, as many young players are and having little or no personal presence is a handicap for any player. He needs to be vocal, to demand the ball and to show his teammates that he expects to and wants TO RECEIVE THE BALL, BY WORKING FAR HARDER. HIS TALENT IS EVIDENT BUT HIS ATTITUDE IS VERY POOR RIGHT NOW. He looks overawed, to my eyes and should by now be far more settled and a regular in the team, given his inate talent. But talent is useless, unless you apply it!

  9. Pepe has talent in abundance thats plainly obvious, if he didn’t it would be a different matter but it needs a coach to sort him out and help him with aspects of his game to get the best out of him. He is fast, has very quick feet and a great shot on him but he is very sloppy in his attitude and ability. Unlike some in our team, there is a player in there.

  10. Based on what you’ll have seen this year, between auba, laca, pepe, martinelli, willock, ozil (our core attacking players), rank them.

    Our current team is so toothless, I do not get how Pepe does not get a chance to play himself into form.

  11. He just doesn’t behave like an African guy, Ivory Coast to talk of.

    He looks too soft and fragile like somewhat introverted European Nerd..

  12. PEPE, we still have to wait, maybe until next year !!! He was performing in France, but his dribbles and shooting efficiency are less easy in the English Championship which is a much higher level.
    I could be wrong, but it is important not to consider on the left side, his left foot would not make as many differences as on the right side.

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