Former Arsenal manager Unai Emery has revealed that it wasn’t his choice to shell out £72m on Lille winger Nicolas Pepe in the summer transfer window.
The Ivorian has struggled to settle into life in the Premier League, and Emery feels the failure of the winger to adapt quickly to English football played a role in his difficult second season at the Emirates:
“Nicolas Pepe, who was a choice of the club, clearly needs time to adapt. But I accept the rules, it would be a mistake to criticise it because I have also benefited from this judgment in the past.”
Emery says that it would have needed more time to turn things around at the Gunners and that the club had been moving in the wrong direction for a number of seasons before his arrival. He then highlighted current head coach Mikel Arteta‘s recent results in charge as evidence that the club isn’t going to be turned around overnight:
“Arsenal had been a club on the downward slope for two years when I arrived. We stopped this fall and even started to turn the club around with a Europa League final and fifth place in the [Premier League]. I obviously take my share of responsibility but you see that the team is not necessarily doing better since my departure.”
Although results may have not gone Arteta’s way so far, there has been a clear difference in terms of attitude, work rate and structure since his arrival in December. Fans will be hoping that those changes will be rewarded with wins over the coming weeks and months.