Arsenal legend Robert Pires opined that winger Nicolas Pepe is struggling to keep up with the intensity of the Premier League. Having made his move to North London from Ligue 1 club Lille in 2019, the 25-year-old has found life in the English top-flight hard to cope with.
In an exclusive interview with the Sun, Pires was candid about Pepe’s Arsenal career. “His game doesn’t suit the intensity and demands of the Premier League. Pepe wasn’t used to it and it has been complicated for him to change his mentality, to adapt to a new way of training and to settle in a tough league. I think he is simply not cut out for English football,” Pires said.
The Ivory Coast international has made 66 appearances for the Gunners since the start of last season, scoring 14 goals and registering 13 assists. Arsenal fans have often been left disappointed with Pepe’s performances as he shows flashes of brilliance but fails to perform consistently for a run of games.
Pires also acknowledges Mesut Ozil’s contributions to the club and hailed him as a club legend. The World Cup winner was left out of Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads before departing the club earlier this window.
“In my opinion, Ozil is an Arsenal legend,” Pires said. “We must not forget everything he did for this club and the quality he brought to the team. For me, there is no culprit in this story. I know Arteta and I know Ozil. The manager made a decision and Ozil had to accept it, which he did.”
“He never complained but instead continued to train like a professional. He has now found a solution to leave by signing with Fenerbahce and I think everyone’s happy – especially Mesut because he was the one most affected by it. Being frozen out of the squad is very tough. That said, for me Ozil has already gone down as an Arsenal legend,” he added.
Ozil left the Gunners after a seven and half year spell, during which he won 4 FA cups with the club.