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Arsenal boss Unai Emery hints record-signing Nicolas Pepe could start against Liverpool

Unai Emery has hinted record-signing Nicolas Pepe could be handed his first Arsenal start at Liverpool on Saturday.

The winger has come off the bench in each of Arsenal’s two fixtures so far as he continues his adaptation following his £72million move from Lille.

Speaking ahead of the clash at Anfield, Emery indicated Pepe could be given a more involved role, saying: ‘The most important thing is, like a person, to help him and his family to feel comfortable here.

Nicolas Pepe could be handed his first Arsenal start against Liverpool on Saturday afternoon

Nicolas Pepe could be handed his first Arsenal start against Liverpool on Saturday afternoon

‘Now he is three weeks into working here with us. He didn’t do the pre-season here but he’s progressively feeling better. For example, in the first match, he played 15 minutes in Newcastle, then he played 45 minutes against Burnley.

‘I think his individual performances are progressively getting better. For Saturday, he is maybe ready to have more minutes. I am going to decide tomorrow, but really his progress has been positive and has been good for the team and for him. The most important piece of the adaptation is to help him to feel easy and be comfortable with us.’

Emery said Mesut Ozil has resumed full training after illness prevented him from a first appearance of the season against Burnley.

Unai Emery has been pleased with his progress and will make a decision on Pepe on Friday

Unai Emery has been pleased with his progress and will make a decision on Pepe on Friday

He added: ‘Tomorrow is the last training and we are going to decide (on Ozil’s involvement) tomorrow. Today they trained, but really, I need tomorrow to have the last training, to be really sure how we can be better there. 

‘I know some players need to be fit and to improve 100 per cent to be in their best fitness. But tomorrow is the day. Really I am positive with some players for Saturday but I don’t want to decide today or to say to you today how we are because tomorrow can change. 

‘I think he needs to be fit and also he is training as normal with the team. I think this is the first way to achieve that fitness. After that, to help us with his capacity.’

Original article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7383755/Arsenal-boss-Unai-Emery-hints-record-signing-Nicolas-Pepe-start-against-Liverpool.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

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