Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has jumped to the defence of summer signing Nicolas Pepe by stating that the Ivorian needs more time to adapt to the Premier League.
The 24-year-old arrived at the north London club in a club-record deal from Lille over the summer and he was anticipated to hit the ground running from the beginning of the season.
However, that was certainly not been the case with the winger struggling to meet the demands of the Premier League and he has yet to score from open play from 11 appearances.
Speaking exclusively to Yahoo! Sport, Henry stressed that the Ivorian should not be put under pressure because of the price tag, given he had no control over the transfer negotiations between the clubs involved.
“When you arrive like that, you’re always going to be talked about, and people are always going to target you. He needs to make sure he doesn’t listen to that and go out and perform. People need to forget about the price tag. He didn’t ask to be bought for that amount of money himself,” he told.
The former World Cup winner added that Pepe has found it difficult to adapt to a different style of play in a new league and the club’s faithful should continue to keep patience with the forward.
“It’s not always easy to arrive in a team, adapt to a new style of play. The Premier League, as we know, is not the same as the French League or any other league, by the way. So he needs to adapt to that. We need to give him time,” he continued.
Pepe scored two splendid goals from free-kicks in the 3-2 comeback win over Vitoria in the Europa League last month and he seemed to have turned the corner after a rough start to the campaign.
That has, however, not happened and he has continued to face difficulties in the final third of the field. Of late, he has dropped the pecking order under Unai Emery and has managed 13 minutes from the past two league games for the side.
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