ARSENE WENGER has warned Arsenal record signing Nicolas Pepe he needs to fight to keep his place ahead of the club’s promising young stars.
Pepe is taking his time adjusting to the demands of the Premier League following his £72million move to North London over the summer.
Pepe has looked out of sorts in ten appearances since becoming the most expensive player in the Gunners’ history, scoring just once in all competitions.
And while the 24-year-old struggles to produce his best form, youngsters like Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have started to impress and stake a claim for regular first-team chances.
Former Arsenal boss Wenger says Pepe will not have long to start producing and has told the Ivory Coast star he could have to battle for a starting role.
He told Omnisport: “I like the player and I thought it was a good decision.
“He’s not yet completely adapted and you have to give him some time. He looks a little bit to be playing not with the freedom he did in France at the moment.
“I see some characteristics of his game, especially off the ball, that don’t happen at the moment.
“On the other hand, I must say we have good young players who can play on the flanks, that he will have a fight to keep his position.”
Wenger is still a keen observer of Arsenal despite leaving the club in 2018 after 22 years in charge.
And he admits he is a fan of the way his replacement Unai Emery is going about the job of building his own squad.
The Frenchman added: “I’m not here to judge coaches. I am a supporter of Arsenal Football Club, so I just support him.
“But he can win games and he plays a type of game that I like.
“A club like Arsenal is a huge responsibility and one of those responsibilities is to play attractive football.