- Kenyan and Sofapaka striker Ronald Okoth believes Arsenal star Nicholas Pepe has not flopped in his first Premier League season, explains why the Ivorian international should not be considered a Gunners misfire at this juncture.
The Ivorian, who signed for £72 million from Lille, a huge transfer fee that has attracted high expectations from the Gunners’ fans, has received several critics as a flop.
According to Okoth, who has attributed high expectation on the club, fans, and difficulty settling in a new country might have contributed to the forward’s inconsistent form in the 2019/20 campaign.
“I think he has not been a flop because he was still fighting to adapt and again I also think he has not played that bad,” Okoth said.
“You know when the whole team is having a bad day; there will be no player who can be regarded as outstanding. It is more of a collective effort and that is why he might have been seen as a flop, which is not the case to me,” he argued.
“The expectations that the club had on him as well as the fans especially after arriving with so much invested in him money-wise, might have drastically affected him,” he opined.
“He has not lived up to those expectations, yes, but hopefully in the next season he might rightfully prove his worth,” he continued.
Okoth further pointed out the changes in management especially the exit of former gunners Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta taking over. He believes the Emery-Arteta transition had an impact on Pepe’s maiden season in England as well.
“Without a doubt, a change of managers affected his performance overall,” the Sofapaka striker added.
“In any club, any new manager will come with his own playing style and philosophies that will affect players in one way or another.
“In that regard, Pepe stands a better chance of having good days on the pitch,” he stated.
The strike concluded that Pepe is one of the best signings in the EPL and among the best stars on the continent.
“Every team is always signing a good player in their own perspective, and Pepe is among the best signings done in the EPL then.
“He is one of the best players we have on the continent at the moment.”