At the weekend, Arsenal released an interview with Mikel Arteta in which the manager spoke passionately about the importance of his players being able to communicate together in English.
“You cannot create your figure, your identity, within the dressing room and the club without being able to communicate,” was one line from the Spaniard.
24 hours later, Nicolas Pepe, who has spent most of this season as a benchwarmer, said the language barrier has proved problematic for him this season.
Away on international duty with Ivory Coast, the winger was asked about his form and where his future might lie.
He said: “I am focused on how well we do until the end of the season and the club’s target, which is getting into the Champions League. Then we will see what happens.
“Mikel Arteta has explained that to me and the coach knows what I think and how hard I’m working.
“It is also about communication. Sometimes it’s not easy to communicate with the language barrier. It has been a tough season for me.
“Of course, it is frustrating not to play. No player enjoys not playing but I have to respect the coach’s decision and the team is doing well at the moment.”
While we’re not suggesting communication is the key reason for Pepe’s limited game time this season – it’s worth remembering Arteta and several players also speak French – it’s certainly interesting that he’s highlighted the issue.
In February, the manager said Arsenal needed Pepe “at his best” for the Premier League run-in and suggested the player had returned from the African Cup of Nations with “changed” energy.
All the same, it remains to be seen whether the player sticks out the remaining two years of his contract at the Emirates.
You suspect the 26-year-old won’t want another 12 months playing backup to the Gunners’ young bucks and the club can’t afford to let him enter the final year of his contract without a clear plan.