• Manager says team’s previous poor form has not helped Ivorian
• ‘I am sure he has the potential to be top, absolutely top’

Mikel Arteta has offered his support to Nicolas Pépé and says he is convinced Arsenal’s £72m record signing can fulfil his potential despite an underwhelming start at the club.

Since joining from Lille in the summer the 24-year-old has had an impact on games chiefly as a substitute, and the winger again impressed off the bench against Bournemouth on Boxing Day. Pépé played the final eight minutes as Arsenal earned a point in Arteta’s first game in charge before hosting Chelsea on Sunday and the new Arsenal manager is certain the Ivorian has plenty to contribute.

Related: Mikel Arteta ‘pleasantly surprised’ by Arsenal attitude against Bournemouth

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