Jeremie Aliadiere believes that Nicolas Pepe has what it takes to live up to his “unbelievable potential” at Arsenal.
The Ivory Coast international has been settling into life at The Emirates after having signed for the Gunners in a club-record deal from Lille last summer.
Pepe initially seemed to struggle to adapt to the rigours of English football following his move from the French club last year, but he has shown encouraging signs of progress under new Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.
The 24-year-old has scored four goals and made six assists in 24 Premier League games for the north London side so far this term, and he has also netted twice in the cup competitions.
Former Arsenal star Aliadiere feels that there is no doubting Pepe’s talent, but he does feel that the Gunners perhaps overpaid for the Ivory Coast forward last year.
Speaking in an interview quoted by the London Evening Standard, Aliadiere said: “I saw what he did with Lille last season and he is an amazing player. So, I’m not denying his talent.
“What I’m seeing, though, is the most expensive player in Arsenal’s history and even if you don’t want to think about the money, the fact is that money is, unfortunately, a big thing in football.
“And when you spend that much money on a player, you expect more goals and you expect more assists.
“You can see he has unbelievable potential, talent and quality. Technically, he can do incredible stuff, but the simple things, sometimes he doesn’t do them spot on.
“That’s why I feel maybe we shouldn’t have spent that much on him.”
Aliadiere added: “I think Mikel could be the perfect match for Nico because he will not let him get away with things.
“As a player, Mikel was all about quality and simplicity. You can’t miss a simple pass if you are five yards away because that costs goals and points.”
Arsenal are currently in ninth place in the Premier League table and eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea FC with a game in hand.
The north London side ended up fifth and without a trophy under Unai Emery last term.