Nicolas Pepe 'not cut out for English football', says Arsenal legend Robert Pires after £72million star struggles

NICOLAS PEPE is not cut out for life in the “tough” Premier League, says former Arsenal star Robert Pires.

The Ivory Coast international has only shown glimpses of his talent since a club record £72million switch from Lille 18 months ago.

Frenchman Pires said: “His game doesn’t suit the intensity and demands of the Premier League.

“Pepe wasn’t used to it and it has been complicated for him to change his mentality, to adapt to a new way of training and to settle in a tough league.

“I think he is simply not cut out for English football.”

In contrast. Pires insists Mesut Ozil deserves to be hailed as an Arsenal legend despite his declining fortunes before he joined Fenerbahce this week.

Maverick Ozil’s Gunners' career came to an abrupt halt when Mikel Arteta axed him from his Premier League and Europa League squads last October.

Pepe, 25, appears out of his depth and struggled to get to grips with life in North London.

And his 7½-year stay at the club ended this month when the playmaker signed to Tukey after terminating his Emirates contract.

Ozil, 32, set the Prem alight at the start of his Arsenal career but was often criticised for not pulling his weight as his stellar displays became few and far between in recent years.

Asked whether Ozil will be assured a place in Arsenal’s Hall of Fame or be deemed a regret, Pires said: “In my opinion Ozil is an Arsenal legend.

“We must not forget everything he did for this club and the quality he brought to the team.

“For me there is no culprit in this story. I know Arteta and I know Ozil. The manager made a decision and Ozil had to accept it, which he did.


“He never complained but instead continued to train like a professional.

“He has now found a solution to leave by signing with Fenerbahce and I think everyone’s happy — especially Mesut because he was the one most affected by it.

“Being frozen out of the squad is very tough. That said, for me Ozil has already gone down as an Arsenal legend.”

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