Nwankwo Kanu has spoken highly of Arsenal’s £72m summer signing Nicolas Pepe, claiming that opposition teams are ‘afraid of him’.
The Ivory Coast international arrived from Lille and made an immediate impact on his debut at Anfield, becoming the first player in 50 Premier League games to dribble past Virgil van Dijk. His dribbling overall has been a standout aspect of his game, averaging 3.8 per match so far this season – the highest in the division.
Kanu, who won two Premier league titles and two FA Cups during his time with the Gunners between 1999 and 2004, knows what it takes to succeed as a forward at the club.
Speaking to Goal, the former Nigerian international insisted: “He’s a good player. He’s got fast feet and I think he can unlock teams. He can score and he can assist.
“The league here is totally different from every other league so it takes time for somebody coming in to perform the way they have for their other clubs. But I think he will do well for us because now he is getting more game time and I believe he will complement the other two strikers.
“I believe that teams are already afraid of him after a few games. They are scared of what he can do and what he can offer. He’s a very good addition.”
Kanu also has no concerns over Pepe’s finishing, which has been criticised in his opening games for Arsenal. Despite scoring 23 goals last season, the 24-year-old has missed two guilt-edged chances against both Liverpool and Tottenham – the first a tame effort straight at Adrian and the other blasted over the bar in the dying moments of the north London derby.
Kanu continued: “As a striker you want to create chances. If you keep missing them it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is to keep creating the chances because the goals will definitely come.
“People have to understand that he has come from a different country, everything is new. He has new teammates and the coach will definitely want him to play different. All this counts.
“But a good footballer is always a good footballer. He will get much better and he will score goals for us. He brings us something different to the other two strikers. I want to just tell him to keep doing what he is doing.”