Paul Merson thinks Nicolas Pepe looks “out of his depth” at Arsenal and claims he’s been “having a nightmare ever since he joined”.
Pepe was sent off in Sunday’s draw at Leeds and Mikel Arteta said afterwards that he had let down his team-mates – but the club-record signing responded as Arsenal eased to a 3-0 win over Molde to qualify for the knockout stages on Thursday.
The Ivory Coast international impressed having been retained in the starting line-up and had a number of chances, including a fine strike off the crossbar, before putting the Gunners ahead with an accomplished finish.
GOSSIP: Liverpool ‘offered’ defensive fix; Arsenal ‘too timid’ over £45m man
Despite that good display against Molde, Merson still thinks Pepe has a lot more to prove to convince him he is good enough for Arsenal.
Merson told the Daily Star: “Nicolas Pepe looks out of his depth and he’s going to have to do it against much better teams than Molde to change my opinion.
“I can understand how he got sent off in the Leeds game. He’s been having a nightmare ever since he joined Arsenal and one Europa League goal in Norway won’t change that.
“He let his frustration get the better of him against Leeds and did something silly with the headbutt, because things haven’t been going well for him at Arsenal for months.
“He came in for £70-odd million. If they’d bought him for £20m nobody would be moaning. But the fee brings pressure, and he’s not been able to handle it.
“I watch him play and I don’t know what he brings to the table. But it’s not his fault Arsenal are struggling.”