Freddie Ljungberg says he will have ‘a little chat’ with Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe as the £72m club-record signing continues to struggle to adapt to the demands of English football.
The Ivory Coast international has struggled to make an impression since his record-breaking move from Lille last summer, scoring just once in the Premier League – from the penalty spot – and producing a series of underwhelming performances.
Pepe was an unused substitute during the 2-2 draw at Norwich last weekend in Ljungberg’s first fixture as interim manager, though the Swede insists the 24-year-old remains an important player and plans to speak to the winger in the coming days as he bids to aid his adaptation to life at the Emirates.
“Pepe is a very good player but I looked at what we did in training and what I see every day and that is how I judge it,” Ljungberg told his pre-match press conference.
“Nico is someone who is a very, very good player but sometimes when you come from a different league it takes time to adapt. Off the pitch and on the pitch. But Nico is someone I plan on talking to.
“We are going to have a little chat about things, how he feels because he is an important football player, what I expect and how I want to play.
“I don’t think his confidence is suffering. I just think it’s a new country and a new way of playing.”
Ljungberg will be hoping to earn his first victory as manager when Arsenal host Brighton tonight, the club looking to end a run of eight games in all competitions without a win.