Arsenal raised eyebrows when they splashed a club record fee for Nicolas Pepe in August 2019.
Instead, it was the Gunners who paid huge money to land the raw Ivorian winger from Lille in a £72million move.
After signing his five-year deal, Pepe said: “It was important to make the right decision and I am convinced that Arsenal is the right choice.”
15 months on, Pepe has changed his tune and the north London club is looking increasingly like it may not have been the right fit.
He struggled to make an impression early on under Unai Emery before his sacking a year ago.
After his departure, Emery admitted that he pushed for the signing of Wilfried Zaha rather than Pepe as he admitted Pepe needed time to adjust and was not ready to be Arsenal’s star.
Emery told The Guardian: “We signed [Nicolas] Pepe. He’s a good player but we didn’t know his character and he needs time, patience.
“Incredible performances. I told them: ‘This is the player I know and want.’
“I met Zaha and he wanted to come. The club decided Pepe was one for the future. I said: ‘Yes, but we need to win now and this lad wins games.’ He beat us on his own.”
Whilst Arsenal fans saw flashes of Pepe’s ability last year, it is clear Emery did not trust him as a man capable of winning games for his side.
There were hopes he would become that man when Arteta took control last year.
But he has started just one Premier League game this campaign and had a limited impact as a substitute in an Arsenal side starved of goals.
Arteta has seemingly reached the same conclusion as Emery regarding Pepe after months working with the record signing.
And Pepe has now admitted he has been left “frustrated” by his lack of game time with two coaches failing to see him as ready for a regular starting spot.
“My goal is to play more. Have a little more playing time,” Pepe told French outlet Canal Plus .
“A player who plays is happy. For me, I would like to play a little more to find a smile again.
“He [Arteta] wants me to be 100 per cent focused during the 90 minutes of the match. Afterwards, I see during training that I will be a substitute the following weekend.
“But the coach speaks to me, he also has assistants who are there for that. But it is frustrating for any player to be on the bench.”