Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher has urged Arsenal to give up on Nicolas Pepe after the Ivorian failed to have an impact against Liverpool.
The Gunners were woeful against the champions on Saturday. None of our players stepped up and it proved to be a very comfortable victory for Liverpool, who could easily have scored a few more goals.
Mikel Arteta was clearly not a happy man after the game. He admitted that he was shocked by how poor his players were, and Carragher believes that it’s time for the Arsenal boss to get rid of some of the underperformers.
Carragher said on Sky Sports Monday Night Football: “It’s going to take a lot of pain for Arsenal. It’s the players, get rid of them. Stick with Arteta and get the young players in the team.”
“[Martin] Odegaard has come in and been a revelation, he’s someone you need to make a permanent signing if possible because he’s been fantastic. Has Lacazette ever really been the answer? No. Willian has been a disaster of a signing.”
“Nicolas Pepe, it’s not his age or his price tag, really, he’s just not good enough and never will be good enough, so Arsenal need to cut their losses there.”
The Insider’s View:
Pepe really has divided opinion since joining Arsenal. He has almost always been judged by his price-tag, which really is unfair, and that pressure was clearly too much for him in his debut season.
The Ivorian, labelled as ‘a phenomenal footballer‘ by Arsenal youngster George Lewis, has improved a lot this term, but it’s still not good enough. However, it’s not always his fault.
Most of Arsenal’s attacks when Bukayo Saka isn’t playing comes from the left. Pepe is often left on his own on the right, and on the rare occasion he gets on the ball, he is crowded out by the opposition.
Arteta also doesn’t seem to trust Pepe. Even when the Ivorian was in brilliant form, he was pushed out of the starting XI and that is never ideal for a player’s confidence – especially for one who has had to struggle to get into the team in the first place.
Some of criticism on Pepe over the last 18 months have been extremely harsh. Yes, he hasn’t lived up to his mammoth price-tag, but it is important to consider that he hasn’t had the full trust of his bosses at Arsenal.
If a good offer does come in, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Arsenal move him on in the summer. We will surely make a loss on what we paid for him in 2019, but considering that he is not on top of Arteta’s pecking order, he might well be used to raise funds, which would be a real shame.