Arsenal star Nicolas Pepe ‘bothers’ former ace with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang error

Nicolas Pepe’s performances have “bothered” former Arsenal player Jeremie Aladiere due to his poor decision-making. Pepe joined the Gunners from Lille in a record £72million deal last summer but has so far failed to justify the enormous fee the club paid for him.

The winger has only recorded six goals and eight assists in 32 appearances across all competitions, which is not enough in Aladiere’s eyes.

The former striker acknowledges the Ivory Coast international’s talent but his shortcomings are evident when he is on the pitch as he is unable to link up with a centre-forward as experienced as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Aladiere told Goal: “I saw what he did with Lille last season and he is an amazing player. So, I’m not denying his talent.

“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.

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“And when you spend that much money on a player, you expect more goals and you expect more assists. If you look at his stats, I would say he has had an alright season.

“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.

“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 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.


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“Maybe with confidence, with more games, that will improve. But it’s that sort of thing – when he switches off and seems to lack concentration – that gets to me.

“That is something you can’t really have with top, top players who come for that sort of money. The easy stuff has got to be done properly.”

Aladiere, though, is confident that Mikel Arteta can still turn the tide and get the most out of Pepe because “he will not let him get away with things”.

The 24-year-old, who admitted that it has been difficult to adjust to English football, showed signs of improvement this year under Arteta before the campaign got halted by the coronavirus outbreak.


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Aladiere added: “I think Mikel could be the perfect match for Nico because he will not let him get away with things.

“As a player, Mikel was all about quality and simplicity. You can’t miss a simple pass if you are five yards away because that costs goals and points.

“When we go on a counterattack, with the speed and pace we’ve got, we should be scoring many more goals. But if the final pass is not spot on, then you waste chances.

“That’s where I just feel Pepe’s been a bit lacking and maybe that is me being a bit picky because of the price tag.

“And that’s really what I’ve been saying, it’s more about the price. If we’d spent £35m on him, you’d say ‘great signing’. But when you think we have paid twice as much, you think, ‘He needs to do more.’

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