Pepe is struggling to deal with pressure in Arsenal "nightmare", claims Merson

Nicolas Pepe is struggling to perform under the weight of expectation that his transfer fee brings according to Paul Merson.

Arsenal spent a club record £72m to sign the forward from Lille last summer but it does not, so far at least, look like money well spent.

The Ivorian scored against Molde in midweek just four days after being sent-off in a goalless draw at Leeds.

But Merson maintains that Pepe will have to produce in big games should he want to become a success at Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta has used him sporadically during his time in charge but Pepe’s apparent frustration is not helping his cause.

Nicolas Pepe scored at Molde on Thursday

Merson told the Daily Star: “Nicolas Pepe looks out of his depth and he’s going to have to do it against much better teams than Molde to change my opinion.

“I can understand how he got sent off in the Leeds game. He’s been having a nightmare ever since he joined Arsenal and one Europa League goal in Norway won’t change that.

“He let his frustration get the better of him against Leeds and did something silly with the headbutt, because things haven’t been going well for him at Arsenal for months.

“He came in for £70-odd million. If they’d bought him for £20m nobody would be moaning. But the fee brings pressure, and he’s not been able to handle it.

The Ivorian was sent-off at Leeds last Sunday

“I watch him play and I don’t know what he brings to the table. But it’s not his fault Arsenal are struggling.”

Pepe has scored 12 times in 56 outings for the north London outfit.

But he faces plenty of competition for a place in Arsenal’s frontline which has resulted in just two Premier League starts this term.

Arteta labelled his headbutt and resulting red card at Elland Road last weekend as “unacceptable”.

Should Nicolas Pepe be starting more games? Have your say here .

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