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Martin Keown says Nicolas Pepe is hampering the progression of younger Arsenal players

Arsenal legend Martin Keown has said that summer signing Nicolas Pepe is hampering the progression of younger Arsenal players, who have fared better than him during the opening phase of the campaign.

The Ivory Coast international has been a disappointment since his club-record move from Lille during the summer and he has bagged just one goal and two assists – the former resulting from a penalty kick.

As a result, a section of the fans are already questioning whether the attacker has the credentials to succeed in the Premier League and Keown believes the likes of Bukayo Saka may struggle for gametime, should manager Unai Emery persist with Pepe in the starting XI.

“If you think back to Arsene Wenger, he would have never have blocked the path of a young player but they are in danger of doing that with Bukayo Saka. Pepe, is he going to get into the team?,” he told BT Sport.

Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have both made a strong impression through their recent performances but only one of them could feature during the forthcoming Premier League clash against Bournemouth.

Still, their chances of regular minutes in the top-flight appear slim following the international break with Alexandre Lacazette set to return from an ankle injury to partner Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the frontline.

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