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Arteta has plan to unlock potential in £72m Pepe as Arsenal forward struggles for spark

5:52 PM GMT+8 09/03/2020
Nicolas Pepe Arsenal 2019-20
The Gunners boss is preparing to focus more attention on the Ivorian, having helped the likes of Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane to shine in the past

Mikel Arteta has helped to unlock potential in the likes of Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane in the past and has a plan up his sleeve when it comes to Arsenal’s £72 million ($95m) record signing Nicolas Pepe.

Little value has been found so far in a big-money deal completed by the Gunners in the summer of 2019.

Pepe’s quality remains without question, with the Ivorian having previously thrived in France with Lille, however, he is still searching for a spark in England as the 24-year-old edges towards the end of a debut campaign at Emirates Stadium.

Unai Emery was unable to light a fire under the lively winger, with Arteta now charged with the task of trying to succeed where a fellow Spaniard failed.

He has history when it comes to improving wide men, having previously worked alongside Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, and believes Pepe can be turned into the productive forward that Arsenal hoped he would be when investing heavily in his talent.

After seeing a big-money asset offer little end product once again in a 1-0 derby win over West Ham, Arteta told reporters: “It is part of Nicolas’ development that he needs to open more doors and be more unpredictable for the opponent.

“He is working to give us more options offensively and will improve as he has the talent, an immense quality and the willingness to do it.”

Arteta believes he can tweak Pepe’s game in order to bring more out of it, adding: “I’ll show him footage of what we want and on the training ground I will make him defend in situations where he is full-back and I am the winger.

“He has to feel the moments when the ball is in a position where you are weak and, depending on the steps you take, how it affects the opponents.

“He needs to know where are the spaces for the strikers and when they want the ball delivered in certain areas.

“It’s all part of a process.”

Pepe managed 22 goals for Lille in Ligue 1 last season but has only four to his name in the Premier League and faces competition for his place in Arteta’s side from the fit-again Reiss Nelson.