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Gunners midfielder Lokonga is excited to play with Nicolas Pepe

The youngster has shown signs of a big future and he has talked about how good Pepe is.

29/07/2021

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What did Lokonga say?

Speaking to the Arsenal media, he said, "I think Pepe (is the one I am most excited to link up with).

"But I'm also looking forward to playing with P. Aubameyang, A. Lacazette, B. Saka also, so yeah, I hope to have a connection with all the players and quickly."

"I never wanted to be like a player, I always wanted to be Sambi, so I took a little bit of all the players I used to watch," he said. "I never said to myself that you need to be like this player, I always wanted to be Sambi and to do Sambi on the pitch.

"If I had to tell you some players, I will say S. Busquets i Burgos, Xavi, A. Iniesta Luján, Modric, yeah, all the top players, Marco Veratti as well. All the top players."

Could this finally be Pepe's breakthrough season?

N. Pépé was signed by Arsenal from Lille in 2019 after a stunning season in Ligue 1. At that time, Arsenal's manager was U. Emery Etxegoien, who was doing a progressive job and the club was behind him. However, the 2019/20 season didn't go as planned, and M. Arteta Amatriain replaced Emery as the new manager.

Before Emery's sacking, Pepe was having a difficult time adjusting to the Premier League. The players around him were also underperforming, which wasn't helping as Pepe was still a young kid. M. Özil's constant issues with the club, poor defensive record and not a great midfield were all detrimental to Arsenal's problems.

Arteta came in and showed signs of improvement. The 2-0 win at the Emirates against Manchester United that season was a brilliant performance. Pepe was one of the scorers in that match and had an impressive performance. The season ended in FA Cup glory, but Pepe's performances were on the decline.

The 2020/21 season was arguably Arsenal's worst in a long time. They lost several games in a row against average sides, and the body language of the players was horrible. They scored just one goal in a whole month during one point in the season. The club still backed Arteta, and he did start to get some results. Pepe's performances were not improving, but he did look better than before. The season ended with 5 leage disappointment as they lost to Villarreal in the semi-finals.

Arsenal have signed B. White from Brighton & Hove Albion, who is an excellent emerging defender. He will surely improve Arsenal's passing out from the back and overall defensive shape. He is a young guy but has remarkable composure in pressure situations.

So far, Arteta's time as Arsenal manager hasn't been great, but this season could be his last chance to prove his worth. We all know how much talent Pepe has got, and for him as well, this season could be the last chance to make his presence felt as an Arsenal player.

Author: Devashish Akolekar