Arsenal fans can’t seem to decide if Nicolas Pepe was a good investment, but stack his numbers next to Aubameyang’s and shut the hell up.
By now, you all know what gets me. It’s when players go unappreciated. For years not I’ve been trying to convince the fickle Arsenal fan base that Granit Xhaka is far better than he gets credit for. Now, it’s Nicolas Pepe. How in the world I’m having to stand up for him is beyond me but, unlike Xhaka, Pepe makes it really easy to do.
People out there are saying that Pepe is not worth the money that Arsenal paid. And true, £72m is a lot of money. But suggesting that he’s worth half that? Shut up. Shuuuuut up. That’s ridiculous and it reeks of ignorance.
But don’t just take my word for it, let’s compare Pepe to a guy that all fans can pretty much unanimously agree on—Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Nicolas Pepe every bit as good as Aubameyang for Arsenal
The fact that I’m even offering to do this should make the end-goal obvious, but let’s get into the numbers and get it done with.
Aubameyang has played 2,711 minutes between Premier League and Europa League. In that time he has amassed twenty goals and one assist for a grand total of a goal contribution every 129 minutes. That’s a really good return, and exactly what we’d expect from someone that’s world-class and elite and everything we’ve always needed him to be.
Nicolas Pepe has only played 1,891 minutes between Premier League and Europa League, but in that time he has six goals and eight assists for a grand total of a goal contribution every 135 minutes. Meaning he is only six minutes different from Aubameyang, Mr. World-Class Who No One Ever Questions.
What more could you want from Pepe? The dude had to fight through the acclimation period, he had to fight through three different managers, and yet he still emerges with a goal contribution clip nearly identical to the reigning Golden Boot winner.
Please, tell me more about how he isn’t worth the money. The guy is learning on the job but, as he learns, he is still giving us what we bought him for—he’s giving us goals. And a lot of them.
Nicolas Pepe is worth all the hype. He is worth all £72m. And as he continues to score and keep pace with Aubameyang, maybe the naysayers will wise up and learn how to appreciate what they have. But probably not.