Pepe feels ‘ready’ to deliver on Arsenal’s £72m show of faith

The Ivory Coast international became the Gunners’ record signing in 2019 and is starting to find form after slow start to his time in England

Nicolas Pepe believes he is starting to show that he is “ready” to deliver on Arsenal’s £72 million ($95m) show of faith in his talent.

The Gunners moved to make the Ivory Coast international their record signing during the summer transfer window of 2019.

A slow start was endured to his time in English football, with early questions asked of his ability to meet the demands of life in the Premier League.

Pepe has, however, offered encouragement across recent outings, with an impressive display put in during a 2-0 win over Manchester United on New Year’s Day.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta had looked to the 24-year-old for inspiration in that contest, with the opening goal in a much-needed win seeing an inconsistent north London outfit find what they were looking for.

Pepe told RMC Sport afterwards: “I had a discussion with the coach this morning and he told me I was going to start and asked if I felt ready and stuff like that.

“I told him I felt ready. I showed that I was ready.”

Arsenal had headed into a meeting with old adversaries United boasting just one win from their last 15 games in all competitions.

A spark was required from somewhere, with Pepe and Sokratis delivering the goals at Emirates Stadium.

There is still much work to be overseen by Arteta as he finds his feet in a first managerial post, but the Gunners have become upwardly mobile once more.

They have moved into 10th spot in the Premier League table, with a nine-point gap separating them from the top four and Champions League qualification.

Pepe added after helping to down United: “This one feels a lot better. We scored twice, we conceded zero goals. This will really do a lot for everyone’s confidence levels.

“We are doing a lot, a lot of video during training in order to perform well during the match. Today we performed well, we were solid defensively, we were good going forward.

“It is all new for us. A new system, new instructions. We are adapting quickly.

“That has been seen in the last three matches, even though we did not win, we were very good, we were just missing the victory, which we were able to do tonight. We need to continue like this.

“Now we have to go on a run to get to this top four that we need to do.”

Arsenal’s next outing will see them open their FA Cup campaign for 2020, with Leeds set to pay a third round visit to north London on Monday.

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