Former Arsenal forward Jeremie Aliadiere has expressed his disappointment regarding Arsenal’s club record signing contribution for the team so far.
With the Ivorian forward Nicolas Pepe arriving at the Emirates in a club-record £72million deal from Lille last summer, it’s obvious that much will be expected from the 24-year-old forward after his scintillating and astonishing contributions for his former French club Liile in the previous season.
Although, former Arsenal manager Unai Emery was quoted to have preferred the signing of Pepe’s compatriot and Crystal Palace winger Wilfred Zaha, due to his EPL experience but the club’s recruitment team decided against his wish and went for Pepe who had a better productive season and is quite younger than Palace winger Zaha.
Nicolas Pepe has statistically been better than his countryman in number of goals scored, assists and chances created, all this with less minutes of play compared to Wilfred Zaha in this campaign before the league was put on hold due to the Covid-19 crisis. But yet, his contributions so far doesn’t seems to have impressed the former Gunner, who thinks the Ivorian is not reflecting the value of his price tag with his performances for the club.
“I saw what he did with Lille last season and he is an amazing player. So, I’m not denying his talent,” Aliadiere told Goal.com.
“What I’m seeing, though, is the most expensive player in Arsenal ’s history and even if you don’t want to think about the money, the fact is that money is, unfortunately, a big thing in football.
“And when you spend that much money on a player, you expect more goals and you expect more assists.”
Aliadiere went on to claim that Pepe’s lack of decisiveness is what is letting him down.
“Now, obviously it is not easy, as I know having been there, but the thing that has disappointed me a tiny bit is his decision-making during games,” he added.
“For a player who cost £72m, it’s the simple parts of the game that sometimes I see him lacking. And that’s what I pick on a bit.
“Yes, he goes on a good dribble and goes through two or three players – that’s amazing.
“But when you have [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang on your left and all you have to do is pass the ball in the right spot, and instead cut it back at the wrong time, that bothers me. And I’ve seen that quite a lot from him this season.”
Obviously, Nicolas Pepe is yet to get a grip of EPL’s intensity, pace and power but no doubt can be placed on his ability to eventually turn the table around and take the league by storm when he finally adapt to the league.
Coming from the French league to EPL, atleast, a season for adaption wouldn’t do any harm but rather gives the player the confidence and opportunity to blend and adapt with less pressure which can be detrimental to the player’s future.
Will next season be Pepe’s make or break period? Time will tell.