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Arsenal: Unai Emery’s tactics behind Nicolas Pepe move, suggests Martin Keown

Arsenal: Unai Emery’s tactics behind Nicolas Pepe move, suggests Martin Keown

‘Gamble’ – Arsenal hero on the one reason Unai Emery has taken a chance on Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal legend Martin Keown thinks Unai Emery’s self-belief is a major factor as to why the Gunners have sought attacking talents this summer, despite glaring issues in defence.

Emery’s side conceded 51 goals last season as their Champions League qualification hopes disintegrated following a shocking run of form at the tail-end of the previous campaign – which included defeats to Crystal Palace, Wolves and Leicester City.

But the Spaniard has responded in the transfer market by adding supplies to Arsenal’s attack, outlaying a club-record £72m on Nicolas Pepe from Lille.

Keown feels that defenders should have been the target for the manager during the transfer window, but has an idea as to why Emery has taken a risk on buying the Ivorian winger.

Speaking to The Daily Mirror, the former centre-back said: “He must think he can do it tactically with the players he has.

“Otherwise it’s very obvious that he should have been buying central defenders, or defensively minded individuals both in midfield and at the back.

“So he has made decisions in regards to the personalities he wants and he’s gone after and pursued this talent, so that’s a gamble because we know there is a weakness and only time will tell if he’s got that right.”

Emery’s addition of another forward in Pepe certainly does seem like a more all-out approach from the Gunners boss, who looks to be banking on Arsenal’s attacking prowess delivering success next season in the absence of new defenders as it stands.

Whether Pepe’s arrival leads to a new shape or philosophy from Arsenal’s point of view, the lack of incomings at the back is potentially shaping up to be even more of a problem area for the Gunners – having let young centre-back Krystian Bielik go to Derby County, while Laurent Koscielny is leaving to join Bordeaux and Carl Jenkinson is reportedly nearing a move away – hence Keown’s concerns.

With those in mind, Emery may well be hoping that this transfer strategy pays off.

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Article title: Arsenal: Unai Emery’s tactics behind Nicolas Pepe move, suggests Martin Keown

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