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‘He needs time’ – Zaha defends Arsenal’s £72m man Pepe

Wilfried Zaha has come to the defence of Arsenal star Nicolas Pepe and says the club’s record signing ‘needs time’ as he adjusts to life in the Premier League.

The Ivory Coast international has struggled to make an impact since his record-breaking £72m move to Arsenal this summer, scoring just one goal – from the penalty spot – since joining from French side Lille.

Despite Pepe’s move to the Emirates ultimately scuppering Zaha’s own ambitions of a transfer to the North London club, the Crystal Palace forward – who plays alongside Pepe at international level – has urged patience as the 24-year-old adapts to the demands of the Premier League.

“I see the social media, I see everything and it’s a thing where he needs time,” Zaha told BBC Africa. “He’s come from another league, he’s young.

“There’s this price tag that he has not put on himself, people have put that on him because of his performances.

“So you’ve got to give him time for him to reproduce that, it’s not going to come like that.

“I have got nothing but faith in him, I’ve got confidence that he will produce the same thing that he did before.

“Because we both play for Ivory Coast, I’ve seen the talent he’s got, but not everyone sees it.”

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