Unai Emery expects Nicolas Pepe to be fit for Arsenal’s trip to Watford on Sunday, but admitted he doesn’t know the exact nature of the injury that kept the forward out of international duty.
The 24-year-old, who joined the Gunners from Lille in a club-record £72million move over the summer, missed the Ivory Coast’s recent friendlies against Tunisia and Benin.
Although he initially linked up with his international team-mates in France, Pepe returned to north London to work on his fitness as a result of the problem.
But Emery confirmed that the forward should be ready to return to action when his side makes the trip to Vicarage Road over the weekend.
“We decided to keep him here with us and we were working with him to have him ready for Sunday and we think he will be,” Emery said.
“It is a small problem. Where is it? I don’t know exactly.”
Despite featuring in all four of the Gunners’ opening Premier League matches, starting against both Liverpool and Tottenham, Pepe is yet to find the net for his new club.
However, Emery insisted he isn’t worried and urged fans to be patient with the forward, who scored 22 goals in Ligue 1 last term.
“We need people to be patient with him and also help him to be comfortable,” the Arsenal manager added.
“As with Dani Ceballos, each training session and match is very important to be ready and to achieve their performance.