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Enjoying football at international level but bit less so at club level, reveals Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal star Nicolas Pepe has admitted that it has been a tough season for him with the lack of game-time playing into that and that he hasn’t enjoyed his football so far. The Ivorian signed for the Gunners in the summer of 2019 but has failed to live up to his potential, scoring just 27 goals.

After a sensational season at LOSC Lille where he scored 23 goals and 12 assists across all competitions, a lot was expected from Nicolas Pepe after Arsenal paid a club record  £72 million fee. But the Ivorian’s debut season saw him struggle for form as he netted just 8 goals and 10 assists across all competitions. Things changed in his second season with 16 goals and 5 assists, but it hasn’t gone to plan in the 2021/22 season. Instead, Pepe has barely featured for the North London side, with just 15 league appearances so far.

That combined with his lack of game-time in other competitions as well has seen the 26-year-old score just three goals. It has seen reports indicate that the forward is unhappy and is considering his future but Pepe revealed that he is only focused on Arsenal’s performances until the end of the season. Yet, the Ivorian revealed that he enjoys his time with Ivory Coast because he gets the chance to play, something he doesn’t do at a club level.

“I am focused on how well we do until the end of the season and the club’s target, which is getting into the Champions League. Then we will see what happens. It is an honour to play for Ivory Coast. The most important thing is to enjoy your football. That is something I am able to do when I get the chance to play,” Pepe said, reported Goal.

“It is happening at international level and a bit less so at club level. It is frustrating not to play. No player enjoys not playing but I have to respect the coach’s decision. When a team is winning it is hard for a coach to make changes. Mikel has explained that to me and I know I have to work hard in training to get more playing time.”

“The coach knows what I think and how hard I am working. It is also about communication. Sometimes it is not easy to communicate with the language barrier. It has been a tough season for me.”

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