Wilfried Zaha has spoken out to defend his international teammate Nicolas Pepe, insisting Arsenal will soon see the same talent he sees regularly with Ivory Coast.
Zaha himself was the subject of a failed move by Arsenal to bring him to the club of his childhood in the summer window. Instead, the Gunners ended up bringing in Nicolas Pepe, who has a goal and three assists for the team so far but hasn’t shown his best form.
Given it cost £72m to sign Pepe for Arsenal, there’s obviously huge scrutiny over his performances. Even with those four goal contributions, people want to see him impacting games more, especially the big ones.
Zaha says he’s seen the reaction to Pepe’s showings so far, but he thinks it’s all a bit too hasty to judge the winger now.
“I see the social media, I see everything and it’s a thing where he needs time. He’s come from another league, he’s young,” Zaha said (via Standard).
“There’s this price tag that he has not put on himself, people have put that on him because of his performances, so you’ve got to give him time for him to reproduce that, it’s not going to come like that.
“I have got nothing but faith in him, I’ve got confidence that he will produce the same thing that he did before, because we both play for Ivory Coast, I’ve seen the talent he’s got, but not everyone sees it.”
The quotes come in the same week Arsene Wenger has also publicly stated Pepe was a good signing for Arsenal and just needs the time to adapt. It certainly seems pundits, former managers and the player’s teammates all believe there’s more to come from him.
We’ll be keeping an eye on Pepe over the international break to see if he can rediscover his goalscoring boots with his country. The 24-year-old is first set to be in action on Sunday, and you can check out our full Arsenal international fixture list for all the details.