ENGLAND – Former Manchester United defender, Patrice Evra, has backed Nicolas Pepe to succeed at Arsenal, but admitted the pressure of his big price tag is a “problem”.
Pepe joined the Gunners for a club record £72million fee from Lille this summer and has scored just one goal in his first 10 games.
The Ivorian missed a guilt-edged chance in Monday’s 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, as Unai Emery’s side missed out on the chance to go third in the Premier League.
Evra, who moved from Monaco to Manchester United in 2006, has sympathised with Pepe and advised him to strengthen himself in the gym.
Evra told Sky Sports Monday Night Football: “I think the big price tag doesn’t help.
“It puts on pressure and some fans don’t understand. It doesn’t guarantee you 30 goals in the first season.
“Aubameyang was in a different situation. He had played for many years, scoring many goals for many years.
“You have to give time to Pepe. I believe in this player.
“I think he just needs to realise the Premier League is completely different to the Premier League. You should be stronger.
“Maybe he should go in the gym and build a really massive body and you will see, because he’s talented.
“The problem is he is under pressure.
“I want to see if now, mentally, he will be strong enough like myself.
“I came to Manchester and in my first six months even Scholesy says he was thinking I was a joke and they should sell me back to Monaco.
“Those things, they helped me. They made me stronger, when people were laughing.
“Me and Vidic, when we were substituted in a reserve team game, everyone was saying we were so poor, but we proved them wrong.
“Mentally, let’s see if Pepe will be ready, but I believe in this player.
“It’s completely different. It’s a new world.”