• £72m Ivorian played five minutes of past four top-flight fixtures
  • Manager says next few seasons will show if he is value for money

Mikel Arteta has admitted Arsenal are yet to see whether Nicolas Pépé will deliver on his £72m transfer fee but believes the out-of-favour forward can come good over the rest of his contract.

Hopes were high that Pépé would make a quick start this season after he finished 2020-21 strongly, scoring five times in the club’s final three games, but he has been unable to replicate that form. The Ivorian has played only five minutes of Arsenal’s past four top-flight fixtures, starting one of their past seven, and is yet to break his duck in the league. It means the overall picture since his arrival from Lille in August 2019 is one of frustrating inconsistency; Arteta said time would tell when it comes to assessing Pépé’s worth and that the team’s overall performance would be a factor.

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