Zaha backs Pepe to come good at Arsenal: I’ve seen the talent he’s got

Nicolas Pepe Arsenal 2019-20
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The former Manchester United winger has urged Gunners fans to be patient and allow the summer signing the opportunity to settle

Wilfried Zaha has backed Ivory Coast international team-mate Nicolas Pepe to develop into a star at Arsenal.

Since moving to the Gunners for £72 million in the summer, Pepe has struggled to impose himself in Unai Emery’s starting XI, having scored only one competitive goal two months into the new season.

Zaha, who was linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium himself over the course of the latest transfer window, has every confidence that his compatriot will prove to be a star in north London.

“I have got nothing but faith in him, I’ve got confidence that he will produce the same thing that he did before because we both play for Ivory Coast and I’ve seen the talent he’s got, but not everyone sees it,” the Crystal Palace winger told BBC Africa.

The 26-year-old Zaha has urged fans to be patient with a player who scored 22 times in 38 league appearances for Lille last season as they caused a stir by finishing second in Ligue 1.

“I see the social media, I see everything and it’s a thing where he needs time,” the former Manchester United man said. 

“He’s come from another league, he’s young.

“There’s this price tag that he has not put on himself, people have put that on him because of his performances, so you’ve got to give him time for him to reproduce that, it’s not going to come like that.”

Pepe has made eight appearances for Emery’s side so far this season, with his only goal coming in the 3-2 victory over Aston Villa.

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However, he showed positive signs against Bournemouth in the 1-0 win immediately prior to the international break, setting up David Luiz from a corner to grab the eventual winner.

He is currently away on international duty with Ivory Coast, with whom he will hope to turn out for against DR Congo in a friendly on Sunday that will take place in Amiens, France.

When he returns, his first challenge with Arsenal, who lie third in the Premier League, will be an away trip to Sheffield United on Monday, October 21.