Former England international Danny Murphy has been left baffled by Arsenal’s summer signing of winger Nicolas Pepe from Lille.
The Ivory Coast international joined the Gunners for a monster £70million fee, but Murphy believes his signing was an unnecessary one for manager Unai Emery.
“Recruitment is poor,” he said on Sky Sports’ The Debate [26/11; 22:48]. “They went and spent £70million on a winger who only had one good season.
“They didn’t need any attacking players as [they] had two of the best strikers in Europe.”
Is Murphy being too harsh on the Pepe signing?
Firstly, you always need to give foreign players time when they are coming into the Premier League. It is a notoriously difficult league to adapt to, and so this rough start doesn’t necessarily mean Pepe’s a nailed-on failure.
However, there’s no arguing with what Murphy says. Pepe has scored just three goals for the Gunners, despite averaging 2.1 shots per game. Yet he does also average 1.4 key passes and 2.8 successful dribbles an outing, so there are some signs of encouragement for the 24-year-old [Source: WhoScored.com].
You expect more tangible production from a £70million man, of course, but he’s not a write-off at this stage. Having said that, Murphy is correct that Pepe wasn’t a signing the north London giants really needed.
The Arsenal defence has needed addressing for years and years, yet Emery committed only a fraction of the money he spent on Pepe to the backline, bringing in Kieran Tierney and David Luiz. The Tierney signing may come good, but getting Luiz rather than a proper centre half was inexcusable.