So, what’s the gauge on our record buy so far at this early stage of the season?
Nicolas Pepe had to be patient to wait for his opportunity, but has slowly eked his way into the first eleven, scoring his first goal in Arsenal colours in the 3-2 win over Aston Villa from the penalty spot.
The Ivorian has so far made 6 appearances for the first team in the Premier league, with one goal and one assist thus far. It is a tame start for the explosive wideman, but has the criticism on social media been justified, given the price tag hanging around Pep’s neck?
Any player who breaks the transfer record will have a heavy burden of expectation following their every move, and it is fair to say that we have waited with bated breath for Pepe to burst into life for a concentrated period.
Unai Emery has spoken of settling Pepe into his new role, the new tactics and surroundings at the club – and these factors have shown in the past that patience is a virtue.
Didn’t Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry not wait for a considerable time to start showing what they were capable of?
The move from a different country and the extra pressure of playing for a far bigger club than his previous, Lille, are also contributary factors to the stilted start that Pepe has given us.
The bursts of life we have seen though, should encourage us that Pepe is the real deal, and given time, will show us the player that terrorised Ligue Un.
His cameo against Liverpool contained enough thrills and spills to satisfy the majority of doubters, and the way his technique and tricks confounded arguably the world’s best defender at present, Virgil Van Dijk, shows a player who has the minerals to benefit our attack.
His runs from out wide, his pace and his intricate footwork are all cornerstones of a thrilling attacker who can thrive in the Premier League.
The problem is that patience in modern football is not exactly in abundance, and Pepe will know that he must start producing the numbers if he doesn’t want the pressure to crush him.
This season will be an exciting one, and I write this confident that Pepe will be a big asset for us.
When he gets into his stride, he could prove to be the question that opposing teams are unable to answer.
Watch this space folks, Pepe is going to prove to be worthy of the bucks.