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Freddie Ljungberg plans to put an arm around Nicolas Pepe and give record signing time to discover form

Freddie Ljungberg intends to sit down for heart-to-heart talks with Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe over the forward’s struggle to adjust to the Premier League.

The Gunners spent £72 million to bring in Pepe from Lille in the summer, but the Ivory Coast winger has yet to perform consistently.

He has not started any of Arsenal’s last four games and was left on the bench for Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Norwich – Ljungberg’s first game as interim manager.

The Swede, who stepped up following Unai Emery’s sacking last week, explained afterwards that performances in training had persuaded him to pick other players to start at Carrow Road, an explanation not dissimilar to those given by his predecessor about omitting Mesut Ozil.

Ljungberg, who used two younger players as replacements at Norwich, said he believed Pepe would come good given time.

“Nicolas is a very, very good player,” he said. “Sometimes we come from a different league and it takes time to adapt, off the pitch and on the pitch.

“Nicolas is someone I plan on talking to, we’re going to have a little chat about how he feels about things. He’s an important player.

“I just think it’s a new country, a new way of playing and I’m going to have a little chat with him about what I expect and how I want to play.”


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