Rio Ferdinand has lent his support to under-fire Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe following his red card against Leeds United.
The Ivorian was sent off early in the second half after he headbutted Ezgjan Alioski following a spat between the two players.
However, despite the fact other pundits have had a pop at the Ivory Coast international, the former Manchester United defender has claimed that he wants to see the £36m-rated ace do well for the Gunners.
Ferdinand said: “I want to see Pepe do well. I saw him at Lille, beautiful footballer with skills. He needs to do it at Arsenal. The big fee brings pressure and he’s not dealing with it right now.” (via Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE)
Should Pepe start Thursday's Europa League game?
It’s nice to see a former rival of the club speaking in glowing terms of the club’s record signing. Despite his inconsistency, the situation hasn’t feared the former Lille man who first joined an outfit in the midst of turmoil.
And with all that’s gone wrong around him, Pepe has still shown glimpses of quality this season, notching up three goals and two assists across all competitions.
His ability on the ball is a quality no other player in Mikel Arteta’s squad possesses, making him an indispensable asset. Last season, Pepe completed an eye-opening 2.3 dribbles per league games, 0.9 more than the next closest player, Bukayo Saka.
There has been talk that Arteta is questioning the club’s signing of the former Ligue 1 man, however, assessing the club’s current options in wide areas, he is a player that was badly needed last summer even if he did cost £72m.
Despite all the controversy that has surrounded the 25-year-old since his antics at the weekend, he is still an important figure at the club. Support is needed at this moment in time and if a rival ex-player can give it, why can’t some of the Arsenal faithful?