Arsenal boss Unai Emery has urged record signing Nicolas Pepe to embrace the pressure that comes with his hefty price tag following his shaky start to life at the Emirates.
Nicolas Pepe who joined the Gunners from Lille in a club-record £72million deal last summer is yet to live up to the billing thus far, although it’s still early days.
The 24-year-old Ivory Coast international scored 22 goals for Lille last season which saw him earn the move to the Emirates but has struggled to get to grips with English football thus far.
The player admitted the same in a chat with French radio station RMC after the 1 all draw with Manchester United in the Premier League on Monday. “It has not been easy,”
“My confidence must come back. I am not very worried. People may be worried about my statistics but I am not.
“I have to keep working as the level here is different – it is a new league for me and I must adapt quickly. But it won’t take very long.”
It remains to be seen if Unai Emery will feature Pepe in the Europa League game against Standard Liege on Thursday in a bid to see him play his way back to form.
Regardless, the Spaniard insisted that there is no concern over the chances of the Ivorian being weighed down by his transfer tag
“They are human, every player,” said Emery.’
“When they are here working and playing with us, we don’t want and it’s not relevant for us to speak about the money.
“Not for him, not for young players or experienced players. The salary is not important for me. They are players, they are human, they play and are not thinking about that. I am not thinking about my salary when I am the coach.
“The players are not thinking about the salary or what one club paid to use him. For us, it’s not thinking about pressure or not pressure.
“We are playing every time, as a coach or a player, under pressure. Under pressure is a positive. Being under pressure is because we are at a big club with a very demanding objective.
“We are here because we are in the selection. Every player is in the selection to be here and it’s a privilege to be here.
“That privilege brings pressure, of course. But it’s positive, of course. Not for the salary, not for how much the club paid for him. No, no, no.
“It’s because we need to achieve a good performance, individually and collectively.”
Pepe has started Arsenal’s last 5 Premier League games and Emery feels he’ll have a fine career at the club once he adapts to life in England.
“He still needs to play, get confidence, know progressively better the other players, our work,” he added.
“It’s one price and this process is called adaption. The adaptation, some need less time and some need more. But every player needs time when they arrive here. Young players or players as important as Pepe.
“But I am sure that Pepe is an amazing player, I am sure he is going to be here a big career, needs time.
“A lot of players when they came here, the first month, the first year is not easy for them. But I am going to work with him.”