Neil Humphreys: Nicolas Pepe's not enough, Arsenal
Gunners' proposed signing of $122m-rated Lille winger wins headlines, but not trophies
Fans are fickle. They love. They hate. And the journey between the two can be completed within a matter of days.
The Kroenke family must realise that now. A week ago, the Arsenal owners were loathed and petitioned for their lack of investment.
One club-record signing later and there's trophy talk among giddy Gunners.
But the Kroenkes will soon learn that one is never enough. Arsenal's expected signing of Lille winger Nicolas Pepe for 80 million euros (S$122m) wins headlines, but not titles.
It's a decent stalling tactic and definitely a round peg for a round hole (that gaping one on the right wing), but Pepe isn't the final piece.
Arsenal's tactical puzzle remains incomplete.
Still, if nothing else, the PR turnaround is remarkable.
Last week, 16 Arsenal supporter groups signed a petition, demanding the Kroenkes take their club ownership seriously.
Stan Kroenke, the absentee billionaire owner, was abused. Josh Kroenke, the billionaire's son determined to prove that his director's position was awarded on talent rather than nepotism, vowed to make amends.
He told irate fans to expect something special and he delivered.
Lille accepted Arsenal's huge offer for Pepe. The rising Ivory Coast star looks a neat fit for the Gunners' right side and, suddenly, the optimism is palpable.
But one stellar signing doesn't make a season, especially when he's joining a disjointed squad.
At best, Pepe settles the awkward Mesut Oezil dilemma. The Gunners have 350,000 reasons every week to get the mercurial German off the payroll.
But manager Unai Emery has a simple tactical reason. Oezil doesn't fit.
Despite his creative flourishes, Oezil lacks both the pace to press and the inclination to track back with the tenacity now considered the norm at Manchester City and Liverpool.
Should Pepe settle into his natural position on the right, Oezil can't be accommodated, not by a manager who intends to include both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette up front.
With loan signing Dani Ceballos eager to impress in midfield to win over his full-time paymasters at Real Madrid, Oezil may face the Gareth Bale conundrum.
ARSENAL NEED DEFENDERS
Lose a little dignity and earn a lot of money on the bench or lose a little dignity and earn a lot of money in China.
Either way, he's a yard short of Emery's game plan and Arsenal are a couple of defenders short of executing Emery's game plan.
Before Pepe's record-breaking transfer, Arsenal had little cause for celebration, losing Aaron Ramsey to Juventus and gaining no one of note in return.
And then, like red buses in North London, three signings showed up at once.
Ceballos opted to join fellow Spaniard Emery at the Emirates, defender William Saliba came over from St Etienne for £27m and Pepe soon follows.
But context is needed for all three.
Pepe promises to be the delayed replacement for Alexis Sanchez. He is a fast 24-year-old winger, with a penchant for cutting inside and scoring (he racked up 22 goals and 11 assists for Lille last season).
Saliba is just 18 and loaned straight back to St Etienne, while Ceballos reportedly didn't want a permanent-deal option written into his loan contract.
The promising 22-year-old considers Arsenal a season-long audition for a permanent spot on the Bernabeu stage.
Ceballos and Pepe may address the inconsistencies of Oezil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, being younger and quicker upgrades, but Arsenal's underlying defensive problems persist.
With skipper Laurent Koscielny on strike, Emery needs at least one centre-back to supplement Rob Holding's relative inexperience.
Shkodran Mustafi remains an unfortunate scapegoat on social media, a defender that Arsenal fans love to hate.
The mockery is unfair, but Arsenal's laboured attempts to improve arguably the weakest defence among the top five continue to exasperate supporters.
Emery's pursuit of Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney may still succeed, but the Gunners still look worryingly lopsided for the challenges ahead.
Pepe's signing will buy the Kroenkes some time with supporters.
But Arsenal's owners must invest in defence if they want to buy some trophies.