Nicolas Pepe’s form is becoming a “big worry” for Arsenal boss Unai Emery after his big-money move in the summer.
That is according to former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, who says the Ivory Coast star should be showing his worth for the amount of money the club paid for him.
Pepe joined the Gunners for a club record fee of £72m from Lille in the summer transfer window.
But the forward has so far only managed one goal for his new club – a penalty in the win over Aston Villa.
Arsenal are third in the Premier League table after eight matches and have made good progress in both the Europa League and Carabao Cup.
And Owen thinks the only worry at the moment for Emery is the form of Pepe.
“I think that’s the only big worry I think for Arsenal at the moment,” Owen told Premier League Productions.
“Things are going pretty well, in the league they are chugging along, in Europe they’re doing fine.
“But [Pepe] was a massive outlay, you’re expecting or almost wanting a guarantee of performance for that type of money.
“It hasn’t happened yet but we all saw him in France, he’s a terrific player.
“It might take him a little bit of time, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt at the minute.”
Meanwhile, Dion Dublin says Arsenal need to keep persevering with Pepe because they need him to have any success this season.
“I think he’s a tidy footballer but he needs to keep playing, you need to keep giving him the ball, and he needs to produce the goods for Arsenal for them to do anything,” Dublin said.
Pepe’s international team-mate Wilfried Zaha says fans must be patient with him.
“I see the social media, I see everything and it’s a thing where he needs time. He’s come from another league, he’s young,” Zaha said.
“There’s this price tag that he has not put on himself, people have put that on him because of his performances.
“So you’ve got to give him time for him to reproduce that, it’s not going to come like that.”