Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe has identified Manchester United right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka as his toughest opponent to date since he arrived in the Premier League in 2019
Pepe has struggled to live up to his £72m price tag since he swapped Lille for north London back in the summer of 2019.
Much of the 26-year-old’s time at the Emirate spent struggling to find both form and regular minutes under three different managers in Unai Emery, interim boss Freddie Ljungberg and the current man in the Arsenal hot-seat Mikel Arteta.
Wan-Bissaka left Crystal Palace to up sticks to Manchester the same summer and has undeniably fared the better of the two, nailing down a regular starting spot after United paid the Eagles £50m for the right-back’s services.
Pepe, when pressed on who his toughest opponent in the Premier League has been thus far, told Amazon Prime Video Sport that Wan-Bissaka’s ability both defensively and offensively makes him the toughest test of all.
“I really enjoy watching him play. I would say Wan-Bissaka. I think he is very strong in both areas.”
Pepe ended last term in fine fashion, which lead to some sections of the Arsenal faithful to quietly speculate whether he was beginning to show signs of slowly justifying his price-tag.
However, this season Pepe has hardly hit the ground running, bagging just one goal which came in the recent Carabao Cup tie away at a weakened West Brom side.
The Ivorian international did play a huge part in what is currently Arsenal’s only Premier League goal of the season last weekend against Norwich, his shout striking the post and the goalkeeper before being tapped home by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Wan-Bissaka, in stark contrast, has enjoyed a solid start to the league campaign – United yet to taste defeat after four games.
Who is the best right-back in the Premier League? Comment below.
The 23-year-old was shown a red-card in United’s last outing during their Champions League clash away at Swiss side BSC Young Boys, which lead United legend Dimitar Berbatov to call for a new right-back next window.
Berbatov told the Metro, United need “a right back to give more push to Wan-Bissaka, to drive that competition and everywhere else is a complete squad.
“You see you sign a left-back and someone who can drive you who can do your best in the case of Alex Telles, then how this raises the performance of Luke Shaw.”