Nicolas Pepe must improve the first principles of his game if he is to ever justify his hefty £72m price tag, according to former Arsenal forward Jeremie Aliadiere.

The Gunners broke their transfer record last year to beat the likes of Napoli to the signing of the Ivorian star.

Pepe enjoyed a stellar 2018/19 season with Lille but has found it difficult to adapt to the rigours of English football.

Pepe wasn’t the first choice of former Arsenal head coach Unai Emery, who last week confirmed he wanted to land Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace instead.

The 24-year-old has made progress under new manager Mikel Aretea but Aliadiere, whose six-year spell at the Gunners was hindered by a series of injuries, has regularly been left frustrated by Nicolas’ inconsistent performances.

Jeremie told Goal: ‘What I’m seeing, though, is the most expensive player in Arsenal’s history and even if you don’t want to think about the money, the fact is that money is, unfortunately, a big thing in football.

‘And when you spend that much money on a player, you expect more goals and you expect more assists. For a player who cost £72m, it’s the simple parts of the game that sometimes I see him lacking.

‘And that’s what I pick on a bit. Yes, he goes on a good dribble and goes through two or three players – that’s amazing.

‘But when you have (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang on your left and all you have to do is pass the ball in the right spot, and instead cut it back at the wrong time, that bothers me.

‘And I’ve seen that quite a lot from him this season. Maybe with confidence, with more games, that will improve. But it’s that sort of thing – when he switches off and seems to lack concentration – that gets to me.’