Arsenal recently confirmed the departure of former record-signing Nicolas Pepe, who agreed to terminate his contract four years after joining.

When he arrived for a fee of around £72m, no one could have imagined that his contract would be ripped up before completion to allow him to move to Turkish side Trabzonspor.

Pepe had a slow start when he joined, with the club undergoing a nightmarish period of transition under Unai Emery, who was sacked just a few months after the winger joined from Lille.

Speaking in his opening press conference at his new club, he admitted that things could have gone better in North London.

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“My first season at Arsenal went well. Maybe the first season benefited me a lot, it challenged me a little mentally. We achieved success in this first season and won trophies,” he stated.

“The second season was much better in terms of adaptation and statistics, I performed better, but the third season was a bit complicated.

“I had to respect the coach’s choice throughout this season. Not having played is a complicated and difficult enough situation for a player.

“In the fourth season, I was loaned out. It went well in the beginning and until mid-season. I was injured in the middle of this season. This injury then started to complicate things. “I was at Arsenal, now I’m at Trabzonspor.”

Where did it go wrong for Pepe?

Although he ended his first season well, assisting the winner in the FA Cup final, he found himself in and out of the team under Mikel Arteta, but still managed to shine at times.

Arsenal Pre-Season Training Session
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

His finishing was his best attribute, scoring a number of wonderful goals, but his all-round play left a lot to be desired and it was clear that he did not suit a possession-heavy style of play.

In his second season, he finished as top scorer with 16 goals, but he found himself benched throughout the following campaign.

The emergence of Bukayo Saka did not help him, and he languished on the bench for a year before being loaned to Nice last season.

Arteta could have perhaps given him more of an opportunity in his third season, at the very least to protect his value, but despite Pepe’s talent, he could not fully flourish in this Arsenal side.

He will now hope that a fresh start allows him to get back to his best form in Turkey.

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