Interview

Nicolas Pepe - The first interview

Nicolas Pepe has given his first interview as an Arsenal player - and you can find it right here.

Our record signing tells the story behind his move, describes his playing style and reveals the advice he received from a Gunners legend.

Get your Pepe 19 shirt here!
 
Read on for the full transcript:
 
Nico, hello and welcome to Arsenal. How does it feel to be here?

Being here is very emotional because it has not been easy for me. I have come a long way and struggled a lot and so signing for this great club is a big reward.
 
You have come here from Lille. What’s the story behind your decision to move from Lille to Arsenal?

It was my family and my agents. We talked and thought a lot about it. It was at the time of the CAN [Africa Cup of Nations] as well, we thought a lot during, before and after the CAN. It was important to make the right decision and I am convinced that Arsenal is the right choice.
 
Once you knew you were coming to Arsenal, who immediately sprang to mind when you thought of playing alongside the other players?

The French guys who play here. Then I also thought of Özil, the world champions, Lacazette, Aubameyang and many more. Of course, these are the players who sprang to mind because I used to watch them when I was at Lille. Also, Lacazette used to play for Lyon and so I have had the opportunity to play against him and it will be an honour to play alongside him.
 
If you were to talk to someone who had never seen you play, how would you describe your playing style to them?

Fast. Quick to connect with the ball and a good finisher as well. That is also an area where I have made progress. I would say that I am quick and a dribbler.
 
Out of the other players who play in the same position as you, who do you admire the most?

Lionel Messi.
 
Why?

Because he is simply the best player in the world.

At Arsenal, you’re following the same path as players like Kolo Toure, Manu Eboue and Gervinho. What do those names mean to you?

They are the major players from the Ivory Coast. We talk a lot about Gervinho, for example, who played for Lille and ended up at Arsenal so I am on the same path. They are definitely examples to us young Ivorians and I hope we will continue to follow these examples.
 
Have they ever given you any help or advice?

Yes, especially Kolo Toure, who was with us on the [national] squad as an assistant coach. He spoke to me a lot about the very high level, how he got to Arsenal and how you always have to work hard and really graft on a daily basis to try and get right to the very top.