Nicolas Pepe admits to some frustrations under Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta

Nicolas Pepe admits to some frustrations under Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta

Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe has acknowledged that his relationship with manager Mikel Arteta has not always been perfect.

However, he commended Arteta for his dedication to helping him improve as a player.

Pepe became Arsenal's most expensive signing when he joined the club in the summer of 2019 for a fee of £72 million.

This record is soon expected to be broken by Declan Rice's imminent £105 million move to the Emirates. However, Pepe struggled to live up to the high expectations placed upon him.

In his 112 appearances for Arsenal, the Ivory Coast international has scored 27 goals and provided 21 assists.

It's worth noting that 50 of these appearances came off the bench as Pepe struggled to secure a permanent spot in the starting lineup.

Although Pepe was initially signed under Unai Emery, the majority of his Arsenal career has been spent under Arteta, who joined the club four months after Pepe's arrival.

Reports have long suggested a strained relationship between the two.

While Pepe admits to having disagreements with Arteta's decisions, he recently praised the Spanish manager for his unwavering determination to help him reach his full potential.

"People say that he identified me as a player that wasn't up to the level in his team, in his philosophy. It's completely false," Pepe told Colininterview.

"When he arrived, he had [Manchester] City's philosophy. He had a squad that was filled with quality and backups in every position. When he spoke to me, he said he counted on me, he wanted me to do this or that, and you have to focus on that. He improved me in every way.

"He spoke to me the whole time, I watched videos with his assistants all the time. He really believed in me. He said I had incredible potential, so we need to extract that potential.

"At the end of the first season, he spoke with me and told me to do this or that. The second season comes along, I was a substitute. I was going mad. How could I be a substitute when he said he counted on me?

"Everything is spinning in your head. I was a substitute for [what felt like] 10 matches. It was at the time when they signed Willian. He is a number 10 or a winger. But he plays on the wing for like 11 or 12 matches in a row. My head turned, knowing that I had spoken with the coach and it wasn't like that.

"But that improved in the sense that he gave me a chance, I scored against Sheffield United at the Emirates. The confidence started to come back. I started to speak better, but it was a bit cold. I started to speak to agents, but we didn't see each other like before. But it improved. It's not true that he labelled me. Not true at all.

"He helped me in every way, on a tactical level, in terms of game intelligence because his philosophy requires a lot of intelligence. He knew my style of play wasn't waiting in possession, it was cutting inside, it wasn't waiting out on the right.

"Before, I was a bit freer. I had to wait in my zone, and I wasn't like that before. These are parts of my game that he tried to improve. He always wanted to help me with all of that."