Nicolas Pépé on his time with Arsenal: “It forged my mind and it serves me today!”

The kid who once took Ligue 1 by storm, Nicolas Pépé, sat down with RMC to discuss his time with Arsenal and life back in Ligue 1. Now with Nice, not only is he getting back to his top form but the club from the French Riviera is moving up places on the table. 

When asked why he chose the INEOS project that came with a pay cut he stated, “There were many projects and I chose Nice. I realized that the financial project was secondary to me. I’m happy to have arrived here, it’s a big club in France and we have to make the fans happy because they deserve it.”

After three consecutive phenomenal seasons in Ligue 1, he made the big move to the Premier league. It can be debated whether his time in England should be looked at as a success or not, but for the Côte d’Ivoire international, it was a growing experience. Explaining, “My time in England allowed me to evolve. I got older, I had children so I matured a lot. I have had some very good experiences as well as some less good ones. It forged my mind and it serves me today!”

With investment and Ligue 1 teams having the ability to retain more of their talent the league has grown. The 27-year-old was asked if he noticed a change since returning back to France, Yes, tactically and physically, the teams have become stronger. The level seems higher to me, there are a lot of good players. Now I am also a  little more tracked. I feel it on the field with a tighter marking of two or three players. It’s up to me to get out of this kind of situation.”

He spoke about his continued love for the game and it still being his passion. The Nice winger also explained what his goals and hopes were with his current club. 

Already we have to win the next matches that come up because it’s against teams that play in Europe. We have to take match after match to recover because we are still far from European places… But the season is not over! We know that when we are competitive we can go up quickly and that’s what we will try to do.”

Nice are currently in 10th place with more than 10 points between them and a European finish. The INEOS project has been promising on the resource front but has not yet achieved success. However, bringing in talent like Nicolas Pépé not only shows that they are serious about competing but also that they are not just in Ligue 1 to profit from selling players. The winger now has 6 goals with Nice and has improved form since arriving. Hopefully, for Nice, he can help turn things around with his new club. 

GFFN | Tony DesRois

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