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Emery hints Pepe, Lacazette will not feature for Arsenal against Newcastle

10:45 AM EDT 8/9/19
Gunners fans may have to wait to see the club's record signing in the starting XI, as the Spanish boss suggests he is not fit enough to start

Unai Emery has hinted that new Arsenal signing Nicolas Pepe and striker Alexandre Lacazette are unlikely to start their Premier League opener against Newcastle United on Sunday.

Arsenal broke their transfer record to acquire Ivory Coast international Pepe from Lille in the close season, shelling out a reported £72 million ($87m) on the winger.

Pepe had been attracting significant interest from many of Europe's top clubs, with Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Napoli and Liverpool all said to have been keeping tabs on him.

Arsenal made the move and he joined an exciting Gunners attack, though fans might have to wait a week or two before they see him in the starting XI, while Lacazette is struggling with an ankle injury.

"We played progressively in pre-season, including some players later," Emery told reporters in his pre-match news conference. "We are going to start on Sunday with the players I am very, very convinced are 100 per cent [fit].

"For some players, it's impossible to achieve that performance for us because they arrived later, they're starting training with us after one injury. Lacazette, for example, he started training with us yesterday [Thursday].

"For Sunday, I don't know now [whether Lacazette will be fit], tomorrow [Saturday] we will check.

"The same with Pepe, he is working and training with us for a week. Progressively I want them to feel good with their partners, with their coaches, with us.

"It's different to how he was training in Lille. I want to give him the best moment to make his debut with us. Maybe it can be Sunday, I will decide [on Saturday]."

The Gunners finished fifth in the Premier League last season, missing out on a place in the Champions League as a result.

Emery strengthened his squad ahead of the 2019-20 campaign by bringing in Pepe, Kieran Tierney, David Luiz and Gabriel Martinelli, along with loan signing Dani Ceballos.

French full-back William Saliba also signed for Arsenal, but has been sent back on loan to Saint Ettiene for a year to continue his development.

Meanwhile, the likes of Alex Iwobi, Aaron Ramsey, Laurent Koscielny and Eddie Nketiah have all moved on, with Emery expecting one or two additional departures before the European transfer window closes at the end of August.