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Henry tells Arsenal fans to 'forget' Pepe’s price tag

The Gunners’ record scorer says that the attacker’s struggles are indicative of the club’s on-field struggles.

Image: Catherine Ivill

THIERRY HENRY HAS instructed Arsenal supporters to “forget” about the price Nicolas Pepe was signed for and instead seek to back the attacker.

The Ivory Coast international became one of Europe’s most sought-after talents last term thanks to 22 goals for Lille, but he has made a sluggish start to life at the Emirates Stadium following a £72 million summer transfer.

In turn, this has led to critics jumping on his back, not least because the Gunners have seen youngster Bukayo Saka hit the ground running in the first team.

Henry, meanwhile, believes the player must be afforded a period of grace in which to prove himself.

“People need to forget about the price tag,” he told Yahoo Sports. “He didn’t ask to be bought for that amount of money himself.

“It’s not always easy to arrive in a team, adapt to a new style of play. The Premier League, as we know, is not the same as the French league – or any other league, by the way - so he needs to adapt to that. We need to give him time.

“When you arrive like that, you’re always going to be talked about, and people are always going to target you.

“He needs to make sure he doesn’t listen to that and go out and perform.”

Arsenal’s record scorer, meanwhile, is well aware how fickle life can be for a footballer.

“It’s kind of funny because when we lost against Liverpool away, everyone was going ballistic about how well he played even though we lost the game,” he said.

“I know people will tell me he still hasn’t scored from open play but the other day he saved the team after coming on in the Europa League and he’s scored a penalty [against Aston Villa], so hopefully he can find a rhythm to perform for the team.”

Indeed, Henry puts the 24-year-old’s difficult start down to poor team performances as much as anything else.

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“People like to highlight the player but if the team were playing a bit better, maybe he would be playing a bit better,” he said.

“At the minute, it’s not a Pepe thing, it’s an Arsenal thing. Hopefully he and the team can get better so we can get in the top four again.”

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