Gunners sweating on Pepe injury news


Arsenal will be anxiously waiting to find out the severity of the injury which has forced Nicolas Pepe to return from the Ivory Coast training camp.

The Gunners’ record signing played the full 90 minutes of the 2-2 Premier League draw against Tottenham on September 1 before heading off on international duty.

In a squad update on the Ivorian Football Federation ahead of the friendly matches against Benin and Tunisia, the governing body said: “Nicolas Pepe, injured with his club, came in to declare it late on Wednesday afternoon.

“As a reinforcement, the coach appealed to Bagayoko Mamadou.”

Pepe is reported to have now returned to Arsenal’s London Colney base, where he will continue to work on his fitness ahead of the Premier League match at Watford on September 15.

The 24-year-old did not get a full pre-season behind him after playing at the Africa Cup of Nations before joining the Gunners in a £72million deal from Lille on August 1.

It has been suggested an agreement had been reached between the Ivorian Football Federation and Arsenal that Pepe would join up with the Elephants squad in Deauville, but was scheduled to resume his fitness work back at the club rather than play in the friendly matches.

Gunners’ boss Unai Emery will be keeping his fingers crossed that Pep is not facing any time on the sidelines.

The north Londoners made a strong start to the season with successive wins against Newcastle and Burnley respectively.

However, a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool followed by the draw against Spurs has left them trailing Jurgen Klopp’s early league leaders by five points.

Therefore, a fit Pepe will be integral in trying to get back to winning ways against the Hornets on Sunday week ahead of their Europa League Group F opener against Eintracht Frankfurt on September 19.