Unai Emery hopes to have Nicolas Pepe ready to feature in Arsenal’s opening Premier League fixture against Newcastle United but insists he will not rush the winger.
Pepe arrived at Emirates Stadium from Lille last week in a reported club-record £72million deal.
However, the Ivory Coast international was in Africa Cup of Nations action this close season and, having just linked up with Arsenal, sat out a 2-1 friendly defeat to Barcelona on Sunday.
Emery is still optimistic Pepe will be ready for the trip to Newcastle this coming Sunday, but he will take no risks with the 24-year-old.
“[Pepe] has been training with us for two days and we thought it was better to continue training alone [rather than face Barca],” said Arsenal boss Emery.
“[On Monday] we are going to have one training session together. Each day for him and for us is information we can save. We hope he can be available for this match [against Newcastle].
“With him, I want to be patient. He’s in the same situation as the other players who have been coming in the last few days. For example, Lucas [Torreira], after one week training, had his first 10 minutes.
New week, new objectives
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 5, 2019
“With Pepe, it’s the same. After training twice, I think it’s better to be training, to be working with us, without playing the match.”
Alexandre Lacazette was absent due to injury against the Blaugrana, but Emery could still include him in a front three with Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the first time at the weekend.
“Hopefully [Lacazette] could be for the match against Newcastle,” he said. “The doctors are optimistic and we are going to wait.
“The next few days are going to be very important for how he can progress with his injury.”
Although Arsenal have bolstered their front line, much-needed reinforcements in defence have not yet arrived heading into the final days of the transfer window.
But Emery insists the club will only splash out on a player who offers something different.
“It’s not changed our idea or our message,” he said. “We can only sign one player if they can really, really improve our squad, and if we can do that, we are going to do it.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!