Nicolas Pepe has been front and centre of some serious controversy in recent weeks.
Arsenal’s record signing was widely criticised for his role in the club’s 0-0 draw with Leeds United on November 22nd.
Pepe was sent off in the 51st minute after appearing to headbutt Leeds full-back Ezgjan Alioski, and Arsenal were forced to hold on to take a point away from Elland Road.
Manager Mikel Arteta claimed afterwards that he was seriously disappointed in the winger, who cost a total of £72m when he arrived from French club Lille. He was signed under Unai Emery's management and is now valued at £36m by Transfermarkt.
The Daily Star has since claimed that the Gunners are suffering from buyer’s remorse and are ready to offload him in a coming transfer window.
In addition to his poor display of discipline, he has struggled for form in north London, scoring just once this season and failing to register an assist in the Premier League.
However, former Gunners striker Kevin Campbell has come to the player’s defence, insisting that manager Arteta will reintegrate him into the squad and eventually get the best out of him.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “I do not think they made an error in his signing, not at all.
“Mikel Arteta wants to work with him. I think he has a big future at the club because he is a very talented player.
“He has done some things that were not quite right, one of them being the sending off at Leeds. He is suffering right now because he cannot help the team in the Premier League but he will come back better.
“With a bit of luck, everything will be fine when he does return.”
GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…
This is a very generous take from Campbell.
Pepe just hasn’t been good enough since his signing, scoring a total of 12 goals and laying on 12 assists in 56 appearances, but just six of those goals have come in the Premier League, along with six assists.
Only one of those goals has come against a top six team, too, as he netted in the 2-0 win over Manchester United last season.
Indeed, three of the goals he has scored have come in the Europa League this season, against inferior opposition in Dundalk and Molde.
He has not raised his game to the level the Gunners need, and one has to think that binning him off while they could still receive a decent fee for him makes sense.
Campbell may end up being right in the long run; it just feels far too optimistic at this stage.News Now - Sport News