“He went into an Arsenal team that was struggling” – John Barnes admits he feels ‘sorry’ for 27-year-old Gunners star

Former Liverpool forward provides reason behind Nicolas Pepe
Former Liverpool forward provides reason behind Nicolas Pepe's struggles at Arsenal

Former Liverpool forward John Barnes has given his insight into the reasons behind Nicolas Pepe's struggles at Arsenal and has revealed that he feels 'sorry' for the winger.

The Ivorian has spent three seasons at the Emirates Stadium during which he has struggled to cope with the speed and physicality of the Premier League and the pressures of playing for a top club like Arsenal.

Pepe joined Arsenal on the back of an incredible 2018-19 campaign with Lille during which he scored 22 goals in 38 Ligue 1 appearances for the club. The Gunners signed him for a club-record fee of £72 million.

His struggles mirrored the club's performances as the Gunners endured a dismal 2019-20 campaign, finishing eighth in the league table and accumulating just 56 points, their lowest points tally since the 1994-95 season.

The North Londoners were unable to improve and once again finished eighth the following season. However, Pepe showed signs of improvement, scoring 16 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions.

However, he fell down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium last season following the emergence and development of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, and Gabriel Martinelli.

Arsenal are flying high at the moment as they have won all three of their Premier League games. Nicolas Pepe is yet to feature for the club this season and has become an outcast. Barnes believes things didn't work out for the fleet-footed winger as 'he went into an Arsenal team that was struggling'.

"That's why I feel sorry for Pepe for example. He came with a big reputation and for a lot of money. He went into an Arsenal team that was struggling. Now he's struggling because it didn't work for him," Barnes told Bonuscodebets.
🚨 OGC Nice reach agreement with Arsenal to sign Nicolas Pepe on season-long loan, no buy option. Still some work to do; aim is to complete deal for 27yo winger in coming days. #AFC remain in market but nothing close as things stand #OGCNice @TheAthleticUK…

As per The Athletic, Nicolas Pepe is set to return to Ligue 1 this summer. OGC Nice have reportedly reached an agreement with the English club over a season-long loan for the Ivorian. The move could help him resurrect his career.

Arsenal eye Wolverhampton Wanderers star as potential replacement for Nicolas Pepe

Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

The Gunners will be keen to sign a replacement for Pepe as they will need a top-quality forward to provide cover and competition to the likes of Saka, Martinelli, and Emile Smith Rowe.

As per Football.London, the Gunners are interested in signing Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Pedro Neto. The 22-year-old joined the Premier League club from Braga in 2019. After an underwhelming debut campaign with the club, the youngster enjoyed an impressive 2020-21 season, during which he scored five goals and provided six assists in 31 Premier League appearances.

Arsenal are in talks over a deal for Wolves' Pedro Neto:🔴 Winger top target if Pepe leaves🗣 Conversations happening via Jorge Mendes for more than a month🐺 Wolves not interested currently in selling#Arsenal | #WWFC 📝 @David_Ornstein

The winger was ruled out for much of the 2021-22 campaign due to a serious knee injury he suffered during a game against Fulham in April 2021.

But the Portugal international has once again become a regular starter for Wolves this season and has reminded clubs of his ability and potential. His skill-set and youth can make him an ideal target for Arteta's side.

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Edited by S Chowdhury
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