Arsenal boss Unai Emery has suggested record signing Nicolas Pepe could be handed a start against Liverpool on Saturday.
The winger is yet to begin a game for the Gunners following his £72m arrival from Lille. However, he came off the bench in victories against Newcastle United and Burnley – playing 15 and 45 minutes, respectively – as the side recorded their best start to a Premier League season for ten years.
Renowned for his guile and mesmerising dribbling ability, Pepe used his attributes to marvellous effect in 2018/19, netting 23 goals in all competitions for Lille.
In an article posted on the club’s official website – under the intriguing title of ‘Will Positive Pepe Start Against Liverpool?’ – Emery said of the 24-year-old: “The most important thing is to help him and his family to feel comfortable here.
“Now he is three weeks into working here with us. He didn’t do the pre-season here, but he’s progressively feeling better. I think his individual performances are progressively getting better.
“For Saturday, he is maybe ready to have more minutes,” the coach revealed, potentially hinting at a full debut for the Ivorian. “I am going to decide tomorrow, but really his progress has been positive and has been good for the team and for him.
“The most important piece of the adaptation is to help him to feel easy and be comfortable with us.”
Pepe’s involvement at the Africa Cup of Nations prevented him from taking part in Arsenal’s preparations for the new season, though he appeared to have grasped the Gunners’ game-plan in his two cameos.
Opponents Liverpool are currently level on points with Emery’s men having also won their first two fixtures of the year, defeating Norwich City 4-1 at Anfield, before securing a nervy 2-1 win at Southampton.