Arsenal star Nicolas Pepe has dismissed claims that Mikel Arteta didn’t think he was good enough, but the Ivorian admitted he was shocked by one of his decisions.

The Gunners signed Pepe from Lille in 2019 for a club-record £72 million (BBC). He was viewed as the man who would take the club to a whole new level, but he just didn’t live up to his price tag.

Pepe spent last season on loan in France at Nice but he’s set to return to Arsenal now. Here’s what he said about Arteta while speaking on Colinterview.




Nicolas Pepe says he was going mad after Mikel Arteta decision at Arsenal

On his day, Nicolas Pepe can terrorize opposition defenders, but he barely ever did that in an Arsenal shirt.

The Ivorian has immense quality on the ball. His dribbling is as good as anyone else, he’s rapid and his left foot, when he gets it right, is absolutely deadly.

However, Pepe just didn’t do enough to justify the massive fee that Arsenal paid for him. Arteta letting him leave on loan suggested that he didn’t fancy the £140,000-a-week (Spotrac) man, but the winger says that’s completely false.

“People say that he identified me as a player that wasn’t up to the level in his team, in his philosophy. It’s completely false,” Pepe said.

“When he spoke to me, he said he counted on me, he wanted me to do this or that, and you have to focus on that. He improved me in every way. He spoke to me the whole time, I watched videos with his assistants all the time. He really believed in me. He said I had incredible potential, so we need to extract that potential.”

However, Pepe says Arteta’s decision to use Willian ahead of him shocked him and made him go mad.

He continued: “At the end of the first season, he spoke with me and told me to do this or that. The second season comes along, I was a substitute. I was going mad. How could I be a substitute when he said he counted on me? Everything is spinning in your head.

“I was a substitute for [what felt like] 10 matches. It was at the time when they signed Willian. He is a number 10 or a winger. But he plays on the wing for like 11 or 12 matches in a row. My head turned, knowing that I had spoken with the coach and it wasn’t like that.”

Pepe, however, has no hard feelings. He still raved about how Arteta helped and improved him in numerous ways. Read the rest of his comments on GFFN.

TBR View:

It’s a shame that things didn’t work out for Nicolas Pepe at Arsenal. The Ivorian failed to show any consistency and to be fair to him, he never quite got a consistent run of games from the start under Arteta.

Bukayo Saka’s emergence was a blessing to Arsenal, but that pushed Pepe further down the pecking order.

However, the 28-year-old still managed to score 27 goals and provided 21 assists in 67 starts, which is not as awful a record as many people make it out to be.

Pepe confirmed he will be back at Arsenal for pre-season. But, it’s unlikely he has a future at the Emirates now.




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