Thursday, June 24, 2021
Home Football Mikel Arteta warned two Arsenal stars could pose the same problem as...

Mikel Arteta warned two Arsenal stars could pose the same problem as Mesut Ozil

10
0

requestAnimationFrame(function () {
setTimeout(function () {
window._perfMarker && window._perfMarker(“TTVR.ArticleContent”, true, true);
define(“c.articleContent”, 1);
}, 0);
});

Arsenal legend Alan Smith is concerned Nicolas Pepe and Willian’s careers may follow Mesut Ozil’s trajectory unless Mikel Arteta can “get more out of” the pair.

Ozil, 32, ended his long-term stand-off with Gunners boss Arteta by completing his transfer to Fenerbahce on Sunday.

The German did not play for Arsenal for 10 months, yet he continued to receive £350,000 per week in wages.

Meanwhile, two of Arteta’s current players, Willian and Pepe, have come under fire after their poor first halves of the season.

Pepe, 25, has struggled for form since his £72million arrival in 2019, while Willian, 32, has not scored since penning a contract with Arsenal worth a reported £200,000 per week last summer.



Mikel Arteta standing in front of a crowd: Ozil finally ended his Arsenal exile by sealing a transfer to Fenerbahce


© PA
Ozil finally ended his Arsenal exile by sealing a transfer to Fenerbahce

Smith insists Arteta must bring about an upturn in Willian’s attitude and form – or risk having to cast out another first-team star on huge wages.

“Being 32 isn’t the deciding factor [for Willian] – look at Thiago Silva at Chelsea at 36, he’s one of their best players,” Smith told Stadium Astro .

“It’s not about age, he’s fit enough, it’s not that he can’t run as he still has that little burst of acceleration. It all comes down to attitude.



Willian, Stuart Armstrong are posing for a picture: Willian has not scored in 20 appearances for Arsenal


© AFP via Getty Images
Willian has not scored in 20 appearances for Arsenal

“If the approach isn’t right and he hasn’t got that hunger, then you aren’t going to get a performance out of him.

“This is something for Arteta. Can he work with him on the training ground?”

Smith added: “At Chelsea he [Willian] was a goal threat week in, week out and we are not seeing that.

“This is what Arteta felt he was investing in when he brought him into the club. At the moment it is blowing up in his face, which is the last thing he needed.



a group of football players on a field: Pepe, like Willian, had a poor game as the Gunners crashed out of the FA Cup at Southampton


© Getty Images
Pepe, like Willian, had a poor game as the Gunners crashed out of the FA Cup at Southampton

Is there still time for Willian and Nicolas Pepe to have successful careers at Arsenal? Have your say in the comments.

“He’s worked hard to get Ozil out of the club, but he will turn to Willian and Pepe now to get more out of these players.”

Smith is also concerned Arsenal could make a “huge loss” if they decide to sell misfiring winger Pepe, who joined from Lille as Arsenal’s club-record signing.

“He’s [Pepe’s] in his second season now, it’s not like he is still adjusting to a new country and a new league,” said Smith.

“He’s one of those players that can produce a bit of magic but on other occasions his football intelligence looks short.

“It’s not as if he had been tearing up trees for a long period back in France. You can throw the size of the transfer fee at him, that’s not his fault and nothing to do with him.

“But the fact remains that he’s a big signing and they spent a lot of money on him so they will hope he can come good.

“If they were to sell him now, they are going to make a huge loss. That’s another problem.”

Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here