20:28pm, September 8th, 2018
According to The Mirror, Arsenal are interested in signing winger Nicolas Pepe in January. The 23-year-old Ivorian currently plies his trade with Ligue 1 outfit LOSC Lille.
Pepe was brilliant for Lille last season, registering 13 goals and 4 assists. In fact, he was one of the top performers in the Ligue 1. The youngster has hit the ground running this season as well, scoring one and setting up another three for his teammates.
Unai Emery brought in radical reinforcements in the summer transfer window, signing Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Sokratis Papasthapoulous. While the 19-year-old Guendouzi has been a regular starter and has impressed with his pressing role in the centre of the park, Torreira has started from the bench and has made an immediate impact when called upon. Although Arsenal have been poor at the back, Sokratis has been a standout performer.
The likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have been quite good for Arsenal although both have been guilty of squandering numerous opportunities. Emery found it difficult to play with both the strikers in the first few games but adjusted his team dynamics in the game against Cardiff City to accommodate both the players.
With both Lacazette and Aubameyang in the starting line-up, Arsenal look a lot more menacing in the final third. It was the combination of the two attackers that set up their second goal.
However, Mesut Ozil’s lack of form and his inability to adapt to Emery’s style of play continues to remain a concern for Arsenal. The German has been largely ineffective down the right side of the midfield and hasn’t quite been able to link play with his teammates.
When deployed as the central playmaker behind the striker, Ozil’s passes haven’t found their mark and he has been dispossessed off the ball way too easily by the opposition defenders. Aaron Ramsey has done a much better job as the new No.9 this season.
Alex Iwobi started the game against Chelsea but is yet to establish himself as a regular in the first-team picture. Despite scoring a goal this season, the Nigerian has struggled for consistency. On the other hand, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been a key member of the team down the right and has contributed with a goal and an assist so far.
Although Mkhitaryan has done well, Arsenal must bolster their squad with the addition of Nicolas Pepe. The 23-year-old is one of the hottest young talents in the Ligue 1 and should be a valuable asset to Arsenal down the right flank.
A classic winger by trade, Pepe is also capable of playing as a right forward in a 4-3-3 formation. With quick feet and lightning pace, the Ivorian is capable of wreaking havoc down the right side of the midfield. He has some impressive tricks up his sleeve which allows him to weave his way past the defenders with pace.
Pepe not only has a keen eye for crosses from the wings but he also likes to cut inside and has the tendency to fire piledrivers from the edge of the box. He is not only adept at scoring goals himself but contributes a great deal with assists as well.
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Although he is not particularly good in the air and lacks defensive contribution, he can change the game with his flair, agility and athleticism. He might prove to be the perfect super sub for Arsenal.
Still 23, Pepe is going to get better with time and his best years lie ahead of him. That said, Arsenal should look to bring the talented youngster to the Emirates in January.
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