Arsene Wenger has identified two problems behind Nicolas Pepe’s slow start at Arsenal.
Pepe, 24, joined the Gunners for a club-record £72m transfer fee from Lille in the summer but has struggled to get up to the speed of the Premier League.
He has only contributed one goal – from the penalty spot – and two assists in eight appearances.
Arsenal are expecting big things from Pepe but Wenger believes the Ivory Coast international is not playing with the freedom he enjoyed at Lille and has yet to fully adapt to his new team.
“I like the player and I thought it was a good decision [to sign him],” the Arsenal legend said.
“He’s not yet completely adapted and you have to give him some time.
“He looks a little bit to be playing not with the freedom he did in France at the moment.
“I see some characteristics of his game, especially off the ball, that don’t happen at the moment.
“On the other hand, I must say we have good young players who can play on the flanks, [and] that he will have a fight to keep his position.”
Arsenal boss Unai Emery has admitted Pepe needs time before fans see their record-signing at his best.
“I am sure that Pepe is an amazing player, I am sure he is going to have a big career here but he, needs time,” Emery said last week.
“A lot of players when they came here, the first month, the first year is not easy for them.
“He still needs to play, get confidence, know progressively better the other players, our work. I think he is progressing.”
Pepe responded to Emery’s comments by providing the assist for David Luiz’s goal in Sunday’s win against Bournemouth.