New Arsenal signing Nicolas Pepe and striker Alexandre Lacazette are unlikely to start their Premier League opener against Newcastle United on Sunday, coach Unai Emery has hinted.
Arsenal broke their transfer record to acquire Ivory Coast international Pepe from Lille in the close season, shelling out a reported £72million on the winger.
Pepe had been attracting significant interest from many of Europe’s top clubs, with Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Napoli and Liverpool all said to have been keeping tabs on him.
Arsenal made the move and he joined an exciting Gunners attack, though fans might have to wait a week or two before they see him in the starting XI, while Lacazette is struggling with an ankle injury.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 8, 2019
“We played progressively in pre-season, including some players later,” Emery told reporters in his pre-match news conference. “We are going to start on Sunday with the players I am very, very convinced are 100 per cent [fit].
“For some players it’s impossible to achieve that performance for us because they arrived later, they’re starting training with us after one injury. Lacazette, for example, he started training with us yesterday [Thursday].
“For Sunday, I don’t know now [whether Lacazette will be fit], tomorrow [Saturday] we will check.
“The same with Pepe, he is working and training with us for a week. Progressively I want them to feel good with their partners, with their coaches, with us.
“It’s different to how he was training in Lille. I want to give him the best moment to make his debut with us. Maybe it can be Sunday, I will decide [on Saturday].”
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