Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe has said he has “plenty of room for improvement” at the Emirates Stadium, having failed to meet expectations since his record-breaking $90 million move to north London.
“Things are definitely going better. I am still learning and there is plenty of room for improvement, but in terms of understanding, things are definitely becoming easier.
“Mikel has explained exactly what he would like me to do on the pitch and shown me videos that have stressed the importance of my positioning. He’s told me what he would like me to do to help me progress as a player.”
The Gunners paid a club-record fee to sign the winger from Lille this past summer after Pepe scored 23 goals and recorded 12 assists in 41 appearances last term—roughly 0.85 direct goal involvements per game.
Pepe, 24, has scored five goals and notched four assists in 26 appearances for his Premier League employers, an average of around 0.35 direct goal involvements per game.
Arteta appears to favour the former Ligue 1 star and started him again in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw away to Chelsea, where he was taken off after 81 minutes.
It took seven appearances in all competitions for him to find the back of the net for the first time in Arsenal colours, and Pepe didn’t score from open play for the club until their 3-1 win at West Ham in December.
The Ivory Coast star is of course permitted a grace period after transitioning to one of Europe’s most demanding leagues, though fans may soon begin to demand more of their record star in attack.