It has taken a while for the Gunners’ £72m record signing to hit his stride in English football, but a fellow forward sees signs of encouragement
Alexandre Lacazette believes the Premier League is about to see the best of Nicolas Pepe.
It’s been a slow start to life for Arsenal’s club record signing since his £72 million ($94m) move from Lille last summer but he has shown signs in recent weeks that he is starting to feel comfortable in north London.
Pepe scored one and set up two as the Gunners thumped Newcastle United 4-0 on Sunday , taking his goal tally for the season to six in 28 games.
With seven assists also to his name, the Ivory Coast winger has now directly contributed to 13 goals in his maiden campaign in England, only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabriel Martinelli have had a hand in more for the Gunners.
And Lacazette, who broke his nine-game scoring drought with the fourth against Newcastle , believes it has always been merely a matter of time before Pepe started to show the type of form that persuaded Arsenal to part with such a vast sum to bring him to England from France.
“I used to say we need to be patient with him,” said the striker. “He is still young, he came from another league and it is always different.
“The Premier League is the hardest league in the world I think, so you have to be nice with new players like him.
“He is someone who needs confidence and when you give him confidence he is better. He just needs time to understand how the league is and now we can see a really good Nicolas Pepe.”
Pepe has struck up a close bond with Lacazette since arriving in the summer, with the France international striker knowing exactly what it’s like to move to England with the pressure of a hefty price tag on his shoulders.
But whilst the former Lyon frontman has given the 24-year-old some advice about how to deal with the expectations of playing football in the Premier League, he believes the winger is strong enough to figure things out himself.
“I talk a little bit with him but he can just learn himself with time,” said the forward. “But it is always hard because everybody is different. Everybody reacts differently in situations.”