Nicolas Pepe claims the “language barrier” between him, Mikel Arteta and the other players has been “tough” as he weighs up his Arsenal future.
The winger moved to the Emirates Stadium in 2019 for £72m from French club Lille after contributing 22 goals and 11 assists in the 2018/19 Ligue Un season.
Although he has showed glimpses of his talent in moments at Arsenal, Pepe has failed to recreate that clinical and creative side to his game in north London.
He has only hit double figures for Premier League goals once in his time at Arsenal and, with his contract running out in 2024, Pepe and the club have some thinking to do this summer over his future at the club.
Speaking on Monday, Pepe said: “I am focused on how well we do until the end of the season and the club’s target, which is getting into the Champions League. Then we will see what happens.”
On his conversations with Arteta, Pepe added: “When a team is winning it is hard for a coach to make changes.
“Mikel Arteta has explained that to me and the coach knows what I think and how hard I’m working. It is also about communication. Sometimes it’s not easy to communicate with the language barrier. It has been a tough season for me. Of course, it is frustrating not to play. No player enjoys not playing but I have to respect the coach’s decision and the team is doing well at the moment.
Nicolas Pepe on his Arsenal future:
“I am focused on how well we do until the end of the season and the club’s target, which is getting into the Champions League. Then we will see what happens.” pic.twitter.com/NPRLk1KA5H
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) March 28, 2022
“I have improved since coming to London and English football is totally different from French football, particularly the intensity in the matches and I had to adapt physically and make that transition which I feel I have done.”
Meanwhile, Ivory Coast manager Patrice Beaumelle wants to see Pepe starting more for Arsenal as it’s “painful” to see his winger struggling at club level.
Beaumelle said: “When I watch Nico on the bench it is painful for him as he loves to play and it is painful for me because I need my players on the pitch for club games. I would like him to play more as I am sure he can bring a lot of solutions.
“When you see what he brings to Ivory Coast, I would like to see him bring so much fun and joy and happiness and goals with the red jersey.”