Nicolas Pepe's place in the Arsenal team is at risk by Willian's arrival.

That's according to former Gunners forward Alan Smith, who says the Ivory Coast international needs to "kick on" if he's going to "survive".

Arsenal snapped up Willian on a free after he confirmed he would be leaving Chelsea this month.

The Brazilian has put pen to paper on a three year deal worth around £100,000-a-week.

Smith believes the 32-year-old will boost Mikel Arteta's attacking options next season, but has warned Pepe he will need to pull his socks up to prevent himself falling down the pecking order at the Emirates.

Arsenal snapped up Willian on a free this Friday

"One thing is for sure, as a right-sided attacker, his arrival asks immediate questions of Nicolas Pepe, signed at exorbitant cost this time last year," Smith told Sky Sports.

"The Ivory Coast winger has blown hot and cold so far, which is not a great quality in Arteta's book. Undoubtedly talented, Pepe has got to kick on if he's going to survive because, in the short term at least, Willian can provide great know-how and quality on that right side."

Arteta is delighted to have got the transfer for Willian over the line.

The Gunners boss told Arsenal Digital: "I believe he's a player that can really make a difference for us.

Nicolas Pepe may find first team football harder to come by

"We have been monitoring him for the past few months, we had a clear intention to strengthen in the attacking midfielder and the winger positions [and] he is a player that gives us a lot of versatility, he can play in three or four different positions.

"As well he brings a lot of quality and something that we need, which is winners. He has the experience to win almost everything in the football world but still the ambition to come here and contribute to bring the club where it belongs.

Willian has penned a three-year deal at the Emirates

Premier League transfer plans

"It is many of his qualities [that appeal]. One is his ability to play in those tight spaces, his ability to play people through, to unlock, to drive with the ball and create overloads, he is a goal threat as well both in open play and with set pieces. 

"Again, it is the character that I want, the kind of player that when things get difficult in the game that wants to take responsibility, wants the ball and wants to win the game for the team and I think it is going to be a really good lift for all the players as well in terms of the quality we are bringing to the squad."

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