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Pepe feels he has improved at Arsenal but £72m man admits he's 'still learning'

14:35 WAT 21/01/2020
Nicolas Pepe Arsenal 2019-20
The Ivorian winger arrived in north London as a club-record signing and concedes that it has taken him a while to feet his feet in English football

Nicolas Pepe believes things are “definitely going better” for him at Arsenal on the back of a slow start to his time in England, but the £72 million ($94m) winger admits he still has “room for improvement”.

Big things were expected of the 24-year-old Ivory Coast international when he arrived in north London.

Having starred with Lille in Ligue 1, sparking a scramble for his signature, the exciting forward was considered to be quite a coup for the Gunners.

He has, however, struggled to live up to his billing and club-record price tag, with just five goals recorded across 25 appearances in all competitions.

There have been signs of encouragement of late, with Mikel Arteta offering a clean slate to those at Emirates Stadium, and Pepe feels his learning curve is heading in the right direction.

He told reporters ahead of a derby date with Chelsea on Tuesday: “Things are definitely going better.

“I am still learning and there is plenty of room for improvement, but in terms of understanding, things are definitely becoming easier.

“Mikel has explained exactly what he would like me to do on the pitch and shown me videos that have stressed the importance of my positioning. He’s told me what he would like me to do to help me progress as a player.”

Much is being demanded of Pepe in the present as Arsenal remain without their suspended skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli are also having to take on goal-scoring responsibility in the absence of a prolific Gabonese, with Pepe confident that a teenage Brazilian can deliver for the Gunners in their efforts to climb out of mid-table.

He added: “Of course, it is a big loss to be without one of the best strikers in the league, but we all have to do our best to make up for that loss.

“It’s a team game and we can cope without a single player. We have a quality squad and others who can come in, like Martinelli. There are still plenty of goals in the team.”

Arteta will be hoping that proves to be the case when he takes his side to Stamford Bridge, with Arsenal currently 10 points adrift of the fourth-placed Blues and Champions League qualification.