Arsenal: Build the attack around Nicolas Pepe and no one else

Arsenal, Nicolas Pepe (Photo by ANDREW BOYERS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal, Nicolas Pepe (Photo by ANDREW BOYERS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Arsenal’s attack is star-studded, expensive, and fluctuating. But moving into the future, it’s Nicolas Pepe that needs to be built around and no one else.

Despite how powerful Arsenal‘s attack can be, there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered about it. Both now and moving into the future. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are probably both leaving and, even if they don’t, they aren’t going to be hanging around much longer.

There are youth stars like Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, but Saka hasn’t signed a new contract yet and Martinelli has only been here one year, prolific though it was. Mesut Ozil had his chance and it passed long ago, so this attack needs a centerpiece.

Even though he doesn’t play centrally, this attack should be built around Nicolas Pepe. I know, Pepe has also only been here one year, but in that one year he has shown that he will be a reliable font of goals for years to come.

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No one else in this attack has what he has—a massive future, a secure future, a lot of goals, a specific style. He has all these things that you can’t find elsewhere.

Chances are, we’ll sign an attacker or two this coming transfer window, especially if Aubameyang and Lacazette do leave. Luka Jovic maybe, or Odsonne Edouard. But they fall into the same situation of being brand new and unproven.

Pepe is proven, he’s about the be the veteran of the attack despite being young, and he is our most efficient goal producer.

You never want your attack to be focused on one guy, but it’s never a bad idea to build around one guy and think in terms of who will complement who. Since Pepe is such a prolific goal producer, we can keep that in mind in terms of finding a striker. We just need a competent finisher with good hold-up play. Lacazette should have been that, but it’s not working. So maybe Jovic could be.

But the point is, Pepe should be factored into these thought processes—how will this player fit with Pepe?

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We spent a lot of money on Pepe and he’s doing a lot for this attack, so it would be silly not to keep him in mind when making these decisions. We’re still paying him off. When you buy a brand new car, you factor a lot of decisions around that car. Pepe is that new car.