Nicolas Pepe is Arsenal’s most expensive signing, which suggests he would be one of the first names on Mikel Arteta’s teamsheet.
But as Arteta has shown with Ozil, money and status aren’t things he considers when it comes to his selection process.
Pepe has made just 12 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal this season.
He’s shown glimpses of brilliance, and has found the back of the net on three occasions. But he’s also shown inconsistency, summed up perfectly when he kicked a corner straight into the side netting in Arsenal’s Europa League victory over Dundalk.
In recent weeks Pepe has been under the spotlight, with a number of pundits chiming in to have their say on the winger’s situation.
Pepe, too, has spoken out about his predicament.
Here’s a summary of everything that has been going on in Pepe’s world in recent weeks.
It has been a hectic season so far – so make sure you don’t miss a single thing by signing up for the brilliant new Mirror Football newsletter!
All the latest transfer news and big stories will land straight into your inbox. You won’t miss out.
To sign up, put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link.
Mesut Ozil warning
As aforementioned, Pepe featured in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Dundalk, but blew hot and cold against the Irish minnows.
Former Gunners centre-back Martin Keown spoke out about Pepe after the game, praising his technique and creativity on the ball.
But he also sent the winger a warning to improve his form or face being left out in the cold like his Arsenal team-mate Ozil.
Keown told BT Sport: “These are the moments from Pepe that we were expecting when he first arrived. We haven’t seen enough from this player, and it is, how can you get the best?
“We’ve all talked about Ozil not being around and the manager saying he failed the player. What about Pepe now? We’re moving onto the next generation.
“How do you get the best from him, and is he getting the best from himself?
“We saw that little bit of magic there, he’s creative, he’s got the technique, but its about bringing those out in key moments for Arsenal.”
Unhappy with minutes
It’s quite unusual for a player to speak out about their current situation at a club, especially when it can be detrimental to their chances of more football.
Players tend to only do this when they feel particularly aggrieved, and so it is interesting that Pepe opted to reveal his frustration in the press.
Speaking about his lack of game time for the Gunners, and opening up about his unhappiness, the 25-year-old told Canal Plus: “My goal is to play more. Have a little more playing time.
“A player who plays is happy. For me, I would like to play a little more to find a smile again. He [Arteta] wants me to be 100 per cent focused during the 90 minutes of the match. Afterwards, I see during training that I will be a substitute the following weekend.
“But the coach speaks to me, he also has assistants who are there for that. But it is frustrating for any player to be on the bench.”
Receives brutal response
If Pepe was looking for sympathy following his admission on Canal Plus, then he didn’t get it from former Gunners star Lee Dixon.
In response to Pepe revealing his unhappiness at his lack of game time at Arsenal, the former right-back responded on Twitter: “Play better then”.
Arteta is yet to respond publicly to Pepe, but it will be interesting to see how he tackles this latest problem at the Emirates.
If history is anything to go by though – considering what happened with Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi – then the Gunners boss won’t be bowing to pressure to play the £72million forward more regularly.
Should Nicolas Pepe be getting more minutes for Arsenal? Have your say here.
* Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip